Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday called on Union Civil Aviation minister Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi and raised the issue of construction of International Airport in Mandi district to promote tourism in Himachal Pradesh.
Following the demand, the Union Minister instructed officials of the department to send a high level team soon to HP to select suitable site, keeping in mind, technical parameters required for International airport.
The CM apprised the Union minister that HP is the Centre of tourist attraction both domestic and foreign and a major contributor to GDP of the state.
He said the state is unable to exploit the full potential of tourism in the state in absence of International level Airport in the state which could have accelerated the inflow of high end tourists.
The CM also informed the Union Civil Aviation minister that the three airports in the state at Shimla, Bhunter and Gaggal could not be expanded due to unavailability of land and state of the art technology.
Besides flights to these airports are also irregular due to which tourists are not able to benefit from these flights.
The CM also urged the Union Minister to take appropriate steps for extension of Shimla, Gaggle and Bhunter airports so that the network of Airports in the state could be strengthened. He said last year 52,26,061 tourists visited Mandi and surrounding districts including 1,57,404 foreign tourists.
He said that due to opening of IIT, Medical Colleges, Engineering Colleges and others educational Institutions in Mandi district, there was an urgent need for construction of airport for better connectivity.
Thakur said due to proximity of International Border with the state it is necessary to construct an International airport from the strategic point of view.
Civil Aviation minister Suresh Prabhu assured the CM that proper action would be taken by his Ministry to explore all possibilities of constructing International airport in the state so that the hill state could realise full potential of tourism.