An article in DNA Money


IRMA student helps boost rural tourism in Himachal

Designs a website to address the state’s problems

Niyati Rana
Ahmedabad, Friday, November 3, 2006, DNA Money

Did the monkey menace spoil your holiday in Kullu-Manali? Or, did grabbing a bite at dhaba on a scenic highway of Himachal Pradesh leave a bitter taste in your mouth?

If you feel there is no one listening to the woes of the tourists in the Himalayan kingdom, the solution is just a click away. That is thanks to the brainchild of Varun Rattan Singh, a student of Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA).

Through the website you can not only reach out to the HP authorities with your problems but also help put an unexplored rural spot in the state on the tourism map. The website is part of ‘Voice of Himachal’, a voluntary, non profit organization working for sustained development of the state.

“I came in contact with two other boys from Himachal and we decided to develop a forum where people from our state as well as those visiting can help develop HP. People can post their experiences about HP on the website, bring to fore the problems being faced and use this as medium to reach out to those in power” Singh told DNA Money

In the last four months since its launch has been flooded with not less than 300 myriad experiences ranging from bumpy ride in the state transport buses, monkey menace as well as photographs of some picturesque yet less explored rural parts of the Himalayan kingdom.

The trio strongly feel that the stories about the state posted on their site will help promote rural tourism and eventually generate more employment opportunities in Himachal, where tourism is the main industry.

In certain cases, these were instant results too. “Recently, someone posted a write-up expressing concern that tourism in the state may be hit just because dhabas on highways were not serving quality food and service. It came to the notice of the HP tourism department, which swung into action and ensured that these dhaba owners were given proper professional training” said Singh.

Apart from the peoples’ accounts, the website also provides information about the culture and traditions of the state as well as local delicacies.

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