The Uttar Pradesh government is setting up ‘Youth Tourism Clubs’ comprising teachers and students of educational institutions to guide tourists and help them acquaint with the cultural and historical attractions of the state. At least 25 students and two teachers are being included in each club formed by the District Tourism and Culture Council. Members of the club, who will be called ‘Paryatan Mitra’ (tourism friend) will work on a completely voluntary basis and will be educated about tourist destinations and their history.
They will provide information to visitors about tourists spots, availability of facilities and also look into points of assistance, cleanliness and security of tourist site. Mukesh Kumar Meshram, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism and Culture, UP, told PTI, “This is an effective initiative to use the power of the youth to promote tourism and the government has specially given youth a ‘Tourism Campaign'”.
Over 1500 youth tourism clubs have been formed by the department and 32,308 tourism friends have been nominated, he said. At present, the process of nominating tourism friends is going on a large scale. The government plans to organise photography, selfie competition, cycling tour, heritage walk and local tour by members of these clubs.
Apart from this, activities like essay writing, quiz, painting, poster making, acting, theatrical adaptation, debate, awareness campaign, discussion, community contact, cultural programs etc. will also be conducted. Paryatan Mitras will be posted at tourist destinations near them to help tourists visiting the state.
Asked whether the government has made a budget provision for these clubs, he said under the UP Tourism Policy-2022, Government Intermediate Colleges, Government Degree Colleges, Navodaya Vidyalayas, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Shramik Government educational institutions like Atal Schools, Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalaya etc. will be provided financial assistance of ₹10,000 for conducting youth tourism activities.
Assistance will be given only once in a year to educational institutions. Rohit Singh, a Class 12 student and tourism friend of Gorakhpur’s Piprauli development block, told PTI that in order to guide tourists, he is reading about the historical and mythological places of his district in a systematic way so that he can explain them better to tourists.
Uttar Pradesh has many tourist attractions including those related to religion. While the Ram temple being built in Ayodhya is expected to attract large number of tourists, Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, is among the go to destinations of tourists besides the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor in Varanasi district.
The Taj Mahal in Agra, Agra Fort and Buland Darwaza of Fatehpur Sikri also attract tourists besides tourist spots in Lucknow, including Bada Imambara, Chhota Imambara, Rumi Darwaza, Chhatar Manzil, Kothi Darshan Vilas. Prayagraj is also a prominent pilgrimage site because of the Sangam (Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati). The Kumbh and Mahakumbh in the district are also a major centre of faith for devotees.
The state also boasts of some majestic forts like Kalinjar fort, Jhansi fort and Barua Sagar fort in Bundelkhand and Chunar fort of Mirzapur. For the followers of Buddhism, Siddharthnagar, the birth place of Gautam Buddha, Kushinagar, the place of his Nirvana, and Sarnath, the place of preaching, holds much importance.
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