Himachal finally ready for highway tourism



Shimla: Himachal Pradesh finally appears to be heading towards highway tourism with a private company showing interest in building a food & craft center on the Kalka-Shimla National Highway.

A spokesperson of the tourism department said here today that M/S Destination Limited has made a proposal for setting up of a Himachal Food & Craft Center on Kalka-Shimla National Highway near Destination Hotel. He said that a meeting of the tourism department was held here today under the chairmanship of principal secretary, tourism, Manisha Nanda. Representatives of M/S Destination Ltd. also participated in the meeting. It was decided that a food court, handicraft & handloom center, amphitheatre, shopping bazar and public amenities would be provided in the proposed Food & Craft Center. The Center will display and promote the rich Himachali culture and handloom and also agri-horti products.

The Spokesperson said that this Center would be the first of its kind in the state and efforts were being made to open more such Centers in other parts of the state.

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  1. A red carpet should be rolled out to any private sector initiative in HP's tourism sector.

    The news release is very small, hence will not be able to comment on it. Yet, keeping the title of "highway" tourism in view, to me, it seems to be a sort of “eat and move” center on the highway. As long as it provide secure parking, neat and clean wash-rooms, hygienic food, and eye-soothing views, it would drive footfall and serve the commercial objectives of its promoters. High quality services would also satisfy the needs of tourists who don't mind spending a bit more on superior services.

    Whether this center would serve the purpose of selling Himachal's Handloom, Handicraft, or agri-/horti-products, I have my own reservations. Let us hope that the initiative of this Centre promotes our Culture, Handicrafts, Handlooms, and Agri- / Horti-products. Every initiative must be given a fair chance to achieve its goals.

    The meeting must have focused on allotment of some land on the highway for this center. The government must support this initiative but without any subsidies. Transparency by government on sale of land and other clearances to such projects will only increase private sector's confidence. Continued transparency and consistent policy implementation over a long period of time will bring greater private investment into tourism sector. And that is what HP's tourism industry needs.

    Naresh Kumar Parmar, Dubai

  2. 'Himachal Food & Craft Center on Kalka-Shimla National Highway near Destination Hotel' sounds good but would it be accessable to a commoner like me who travels by the ordinary HRTC buses sharing the seat with 2 more travellers and who is on a shoe string budget.

  3. The highway tourism in Himachal Pradesh can be boosted by standardizing all the Dhabas and eateries and other public services by the tourism department of Himachal pradesh.The minimum standard should be prescribed and star rating should be given,so that tourists and visitors should know about the quality of service can be expected.The colour coding and symmetry should be given to the structures with heritage or Pahari architecture looks.The first criterion should be clean drinking water and running water for cleaning utensils etc.The second can be that serving person should be medically fit and in proper clean dress.The third criterion can be the disposal of waste material should be proper ,so that environment is not disturbed.The next can be the clean toilet facilities.Then refrigerators and deep freezes should be encouraged to supply clean and wholesome food and also wastage of food.These are the basic facilities,and the owner can apply and claim his stars from tourism department and display it.The scheme can be promoted by printing it on the toll tax slip,so that tourist can anticipate by looking at stars,what he will get.

  4. interesting suggestion but do Indian tourists care to turn to the backside of toll tax slips to look for quality eating places. We people can compromise to any extent… even at the cost of living an 'undignified' life

  5. Dear Nirvan,   The back of the toll tax ticket was just an example of the promotion idea,the main point in the letter is the standardization of eating places and improving the infrastructure along the highway.Imagine Kalka- Shimla highway with neatly  lined dhabas after every half an km or so,manned by nicely dressed people.The clean toilets and wholesome food can make it an enviable tourist destination with rave reviews ,from international as well as domestic tourists.The Himachal is a nice and beautiful picturesque god gifted scenic place,comparable with best European destinations like Switzerland etc.The only weak point is narrow roads ,which are improving day by day and lack of quality infrastructure,which should be improved along with roads.The improvement of infrastructure will definitely improve the tourism scenario .Even the local population and majority of middle class is having their own vehicles,which segment is to be catered by highway tourism.Any takers…….from tourism and govt.

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