Punjab is set to embark on a journey to enhance its tourism sector by bringing in world class attractions with its first ever Tourism Summit and Travel Mart, set to run from today until September 13 at Amity University, Mohali. Over 600 delegates including Foreign and domestic tour operators, DMCs, DMOs, travel influencers, hotel operators, B&B and farm stay owners, tourism boards, and more are expected to be in attendance.
Speaking ahead of announcing the mart in Delhi recently, Punjab’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Anmol Gagan Mann revealed the ambitious plans to transform a sprawling 1000-acre area in Ludhiana’s Mattewara into a world-class tourist destination, replicating the renowned international attractions like Disneyland.
“With Mattewara’s scenic 2.5-kilometer waterfront, the stage is set for a project featuring theme parks, water attractions, convention centers, wellness resorts, and more,” the minister said.
While detailed project plans and timelines are pending, the Punjab government actively seeks investment proposals and collaborations, aligning with its commitment to boost tourism and economic growth. These attractions promise to invigorate adventure tourism, complementing the state’s new Adventure and Water Tourism Policy.
“With plans to develop world-class facilities for water sports and activities in various natural sites such as jungles, water bodies, dams, and lakes, our eventual goal is to elevate Punjab’s profile as the best water and adventure tourism destination.”
For the interested investors, the minister provided assurance to potential investors that Punjab offers a seamless and hassle-free investment experience through “Invest Punjab,” featuring single-window clearances and a steadfast commitment to providing the best investment platform. Speaking further about the flourishing business environment, outlining incentives for tourism and hospitality sectors, and highlighting recent successful investments, Mann also spoke about the fiscal incentives available for tourism investors as part of the Industrial Policy 2022.
She also urged participation in the inaugural Punjab Tourism Summit and Travel Mart. This event aims to catalyse tourism opportunities, attracting professionals from across India and beyond to showcase Punjab’s cultural richness and explore credible business prospects.
No dearth of tourists; need to circulate the inflowLooking ahead to 2030, Punjab’s Department of Tourism envisions positioning the state as a prominent player in India’s tourism sector, with a goal of becoming a leading international tourist destination. Amritsar, already a tourist magnet, draws approximately one lakh tourists daily, with 25,000 visiting the iconic Wagah Border.
The Tourism Minister revealed plans for an upcoming Unity Mall and additional 5-star hotels near Amritsar, focusing on boosting wedding tourism. Beyond Amritsar, places like Roopnagar, Ludhiana, Patiala, and Fatehgarh Sahib have piqued foreign tourists’ interest, contributing to a total of over 2 crore visitors last year.
“Punjab has no shortage of tourists but is now strategically focusing on distributing tourist inflow across various circuits. Special attention is being given to border tourism, which holds immense potential in Punjab, as well as the patriotic circuit, encompassing sites like Bhagat Singh’s house and Jallianwala Bagh,” said Mann.
To enhance the tourist experience, the government is launching an app soon that will provide comprehensive information on nearby circuits, restaurants, tourist guides and more.
Punjab’s farm stays, Mann said, is another hit with the tourists, adding that they have seen a huge spike in interest after the recent take over by the Taj Group. She further revealed plans to construct more of these rural retreats to showcase the state’s rich agricultural heritage and authentic cuisines.
“Punjab’s heritage is unbeatable. Heritage is one thing that can’t be created; it is a gifted treasure and Punjab is indeed blessed. Our state’s heritage is unbeatable and to preserve it to its best capabilities, we will be restoring key forts, promoting authentic cuisines, and aggressively showcasing these experiences to tourists and locals alike,” Minister Mann stressed, adding that historical and cultural buildings of Punjab ro generate interest from the tourists.
For the year ahead, under the banner of “Rangla Punjab,” a total of 19 festivals will be organised, breathing new life into Punjab’s cultural heritage. The initiative seeks to rekindle the essence of Punjab’s cultural legacy, inviting both locals and visitors to partake in the festivities, a senior Punjab Tourism official stated earlier.
Pushing up the entertainment quotient:
“If we look at the impressive growth of Punjab’s entertainment industry, the state boasts artists in nearly every other household. This industry is massive and therefore, there is a need for Punjab to create its own world-class infrastructure,” shared Mann.
Leveraging this potential, the Minister announced plans to establish cutting-edge film cities and studios. This initiative seeks to leverage Punjab’s thriving industry and capitalise on the success of renowned film cities like Ramoji Film City. Drawing parallels with this Film City in Hyderabad, she expressed her admiration for how it has transformed into a thriving tourist and entertainment destination.
“Punjab aims to replicate a similar setup within its borders. These state-of-the-art film cities and studios will not only bolster the entertainment industry but also contribute significantly to tourism,” said Mann, adding that the proposed film cities and studios are poised to attract filmmakers, artists, and creative talents from across the country.
The specific details about the locations and features of these film cities and studios are yet to be unveiled.