UNWTO team visits heritage sites of Punjab

PATIALA: A five-member team of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) visited Patiala to access the heritage sites in the city, on Monday. Leader of the team Richard Batchelor was accompanied by Cultural and Heritage Tourims Expert Hilary Ducros, Human Resource Expert Walter Schuller and Transport & Infrastructure expert Sam Sapuey Human Resource Expert SC Bagri and Economist/Investment expert Jim Fletcher.

The Punjab Government has taken a decision to promote Punjab as a global destination for religio-heritage and farm tourism. The granary of India would be put on the international tourism map through preservation and renovation of heritage and historical sites of spiritual significance as well by preparing an awareness-cum-facilitation package for tourists from all across the world.

UNWTO had been entrusted with the task of finalizing the master plan of state tourism. 

An official spokesman said that the UNWTO team went around the state, visiting potential sites of tourism, heritage and cultural interest. After a detailed statewide survey spread over several months, the team had already submitted a preliminary report to the Chief Minister based on their observations along with recommendations on the formation of an inclusive and long-term  policy to show-case Punjab as a front runner as a premier tourist destination not only on the national but also on the  international circuit. A final report of the UNWTO team was likely to be submitted by early September, 2008. 

Heritage towns like Patiala, Kapurthala, Bathinda, Sultanpur Lodhi, Anandpur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib, Kiratpur Sahib with magnificent architectural value, rich heritage and fascinating history had 'amazing' but unexploited tourism potential. "The living heritage of these places is epitomized in a full calendar of festivals and bhangra music, handicrafts and Punjabi cuisine, areas whose possibilities as tourist attraction are largely ignored at the moment," said Batchelor.

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