Chandigarh, Feb 15 (PTI) Aiming to double tourist arrivals in the state in five years, the Amarinder Singh government in Punjab is planning to promote several thematic circuits including agri-tours, the Amitsar circuit, the frontier trail etc.

The circuit touring concept would be promoted to attract specific segments of the market, an official release said after the state cabinet gave its nod to a draft of Punjab State Tourism Policy, 2018. The policy aims to make the state a world-class destination in five years.

Other circuits that would be promoted include; the Mughal Circuit; the Maharajah Circuit; the Patiala Trail; the Ludhiana Circuit; the Chandigarh Circuit; Nature Circuit; Taste Punjab; the Punjab Retreat; Fashionable Punjab; Punjab in Style and Festive Punjab.

The state cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Singh, agreed that the new policy would help attract high value tourism through development of resources and a series of initiatives, including information dissemination through the social media.

The new policy will replace the existing tourism policy of 2003, the release said.

The policy also aims to provide impetus to rural tourism, medical tourism, heritage tourism and film tourism.

Under the policy, the state government will work relentlessly to double the annual tourist visits from 25 million to 50 million in the next five years, the release said.

Training and capacity building activities will be made available, under the skill development programme, to the maximum number of people, thus helping in employment generation for local youth.

The policy also envisages investment promotion in tourism through an investment portfolio for the information and motivation of potential investors.

With electronic methods and social media deployment high on the agenda, the marketing operations would be managed by a team of well-qualified and experienced professionals.

“During 2016, a total of 6.60 lakh foreign tourists visits were recorded in the state, as against 2.43 lakh in 2015, while the number of domestic tourist visits stood at 3.87 crore in 2016 as against 2.58 crore in 2015, helping Punjab attain the 13th rank in domestic tourist visits and 10th rank in foreign tourists visits,” the release said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.