Chennai: The all-time favourite tourist destination of Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram is among the eight heritage monuments that have been identified for ‘holistic development’ under the 10 iconic destinations in the country announced in the Union Budget. The other two spots include a wildlife destination and a beach destination.
The Ministry of Tourism (MoT), which has identified the spots, will take up their development besides 100 monuments, from this March.
The Kaziranga National Park, Assam and Morjim beach, Goa are among the 10 iconic destinations identified by the MoT for ‘holistic development’ as announced in the Budget for 2018-19 fiscal by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The budget had proposed this exercise under the National Heritage City Development and Augmentation programme of the government.
The other iconic destinations identified are all heritage monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and they include: Delhi (Red Fort, Qutab Minar, Humayun Tomb), Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri (Agra), Dholavira and Somnath (Gujarat), Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), Hampi (Ka-rnataka), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Ajmer Fort (Rajasthan), Ajanta and Ellora (Maharashtra).
A DPR (Detailed Project Report) will be formulated for each destination after due consultation with stakeholders in each destination. The government has appointed a consultant to ‘conduct the gap analysis’ in all the identified iconic destinations.
Though this move is hailed by many in the tourism industry, there is a general feeling that iconic retreats in several other States could be included. Also, it will help tour operators to exploit the opportunities to serve tourists better.