Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Thursday said the tourism sector would be utilised for generating employment opportunities across the state as the sector had vast potential in Himachal Pradesh.

Interacting with media on the occasion of World Tourism Day, Thakur said it had been seen that the products made by Self help Groups (SHGs) didn’t get proper market or prices, resulting in losses.

“The government had decided to promote the products made by the SHGs, mostly run by women, at 26 tourism department complexes across the state. The products would be displayed at designated places in these complexes, giving them vide publicity as well as better prices,” he said.

The CM said it would not only promote products made in rural areas, but also boost the economy, especially the women.

Thakur also announced special pilgrimage ‘Dev Bhoomi Darshan’ package under Mandir Circuit for senior citizens and launched the religious circuit for the state.

“The service would be free of cost for senior citizens in the age group of 80 years and above while the government would bear 50 per cent cost of the travel of their companions/ attendants,” he said.

He announced 50 per cent discount to senior citizens in the age group of 70-80 years.

The travel to the religious circuit would be carried out by HP Tourism Development Corporation and their boarding and lodging arrangement would be made in Tourism department run complexes, he said.

In addition, the government would promote local delicacies or dishes in select hotels of the HP Tourism Development Corporation to make them popular at national and international level.

Besides, the government is also mulling to promote health tourism at Kyarighat in Shimla district, Manarsu in Manali in Kullu district and Janjehli in Mandi district.

“The government would soon start the construction work for providing facilities to the tourists at these places and proper infrastructure would be developed in coming months,” he said.

The CM also announced to provide facilities to students who visit Delhi for examinations or interview purposes and said soon a place would be dedicated at the Himachal Bhawan for them.