To provide holistic tourism development across the stateShruti Dugar | MumbaiIn March this year, Prakash Pant, Finance Minister, Uttarakhand presented the state budget of INR 45,585.09 crore for the fiscal year 2018-19. Tourism, being a major source of revenue for the state has been allotted INR 183.37 crore. “In regards to the budget allocated for the development of the tourism sector this year, we have identified 13 destinations in each district as tourists spots. This is done so that tourists can better explore the newer or lesser-known areas,” said Trivendra Rawat, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, while unveiling a new scheme.The 13 identified areas under the project are Munsiyari in Pithoragarh district, Kausani in Bageshwar, Katarmal in Almora, Mukteshwar in Nainital, Lohaghat in Champawat, Parag Farm in Udham Singh Nagar, Chopta in Rudraprayag, Tehri lake in Tehri, Khirsu of Pauri district, Chinyalisaur of Uttarkashi, Gairsain-Auli of Chamoli, Chakrata in Dehradun and Piran Kaliyar and Shaktipeeth in Haridwar.With regards to the recent trends, Uttarakhand Tourism has noticed an ever-increasing demand for homestays, so this year they are planning on developing more offbeat activities for which homestays are an ideally suited. Dilip Jawalkar, IAS, Secretary Tourism, Government of Uttarakhand voiced, “We have already registered 280 homestays but in the coming two years we plan to have at least 2,000 organised homestays. For this, we are identifying, planning, training and guiding the trade to ensure the comfort and security of travellers.”Jawalkar also highlighted that outbound travellers ideally from places such as England, Israel and Germany visit Uttarakhand mainly for snow-trekking and river-rafting. In respect to domestic travellers, Delhi is the biggest source market, followed by Maharashtra. Travellers from Gujarat and West Bengal also consider Uttarakhand as an ideal religious tourism destination.Speaking about their plans for 2018, Jawalkar stated that this year onwards they will register all the tour guides who will be ranked on the state’s official tourism website. It will serve as an advertisement which will also enable tourists to know which guide to approach. Simultaneously, a mobile app has been developed through which pilgrims from across the country will be able to register for the six-month-long annual Chardham Yatra to enable flexible pilgrim tourism.