The hill State of Himachal Pradesh has seen an exceptionally large number of tourists from within and outside the country visiting in the first half of this year, an encouraging sign for the tourism and hospitality industry.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Wednesday said that in a remarkable milestone, the number of tourists visiting the State has crossed the ‘one-crore’ mark in the first six months of 2023, marking the highest footfall for the last six years.
He attributed the achievement to the State government’s efforts in bolstering tourism infrastructure. “From the outset, the state government has focused on promoting tourism in Himachal, leading to an impressive influx of tourists,” he said.
Till June 2023, the total number of visitors had reached one crore six thousand, including 99,78,504 domestic tourists and 28,239 foreign tourists, he said, adding that the State’s attraction as an all-season destination has garnered international attention, attracting travelers from across the globe.
“The numbers tell a compelling story of tourism growth, with approximately 87 lakh domestic and 2 lakh foreign tourists visiting in the year 2018, around 88.57 lakh domestic and 2 lakh foreign tourists in 2019, 21.63 lakh domestic and 41,803 foreign tourists in 2020, 19.73 lakh domestic and 2843 foreign tourists in 2021, and 86.35 lakh domestic tourists and 7032 foreign tourists in 2022,” he said.
“We have set an ambitious target of welcoming five crore tourists annually. In pursuit of this goal, Himachal Pradesh is actively developing district Kangra as the ‘tourism capital’ of the State, with a proposed investment of Rs. 3000 crores dedicated to this project. Improving road and air connectivity remains a priority, with a focus on expanding the Kangra Airport and establishing heliports across all districts,” he said.
Mr. Sukhu said that sustainability is at the heart of Himachal Pradesh’s tourism vision, as the State aims to promote green tourism to ensure a safe and pollution-free environment and create direct and indirect employment opportunities for its people. “The tourism sector serves as the backbone of the state’s economy, providing livelihoods for thousands of families, further underlining the significance of the government’s dedicated efforts,” he added.