Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has said Surajkund International Craft Mela would help in providing new identity to the products of Himachal at global level.

Addressing the inaugural function of the fair in which Himachal was participating as a ‘Theme State’, he said the biggest craft fair of the world had provided an opportunity to highlight art, cultural and tourism of the state at wider level.

“Domestic and foreign tourists will get information about diverse culture of the state through this International Craft Fair and it has also given honour to the artisans of handicraft and handloom of the state,” he added.

Thakur said the aim of Himachal participating in this fair was to project the state from tourism point of view and provide a platform to the handicraft, handloom, fruits products, tea, honey, metal craft and cuisine at International level.

Helicopter service has been started from Chandigarh to Shimla to facilitate tourists and other visitors and these flights were being operated from Chandigarh to Shimla, Shimla to Kullu and Shimla to Dharamshala under ‘Uddan’ scheme.

“Himachal government has given priority to the construction of helipads and expansion of all three existing airports in the state to attract tourists.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had been signed on 15th January 2020 with Indian Airport Authority for proposed Greenfield airport at Nagchala in Mandi district,” he said.

He said Himachal government was giving special emphasis for development of tourism sector.

In order to promote adventure tourism infrastructure development was given priority for paragliding at Bir-Billing in Kangra district.

Apart from it, Janjehli of Mandi district for eco-tourism, Chanshal of Shimla district for skiing and Pong, Larji and Tattapani water bodies were selected and adequate funds have been approved for the development of tourism related infrastructure in these areas.

He added Himachal government has started Home Stay scheme to promote village tourism and generate employment opportunity. ‘Nai Rahen Nai Manjile’ scheme has been launched for unexplored areas and to develop these areas as major tourist destinations.