Tourism only way to preserve heritage sites: Secy

Parvez Dewanweb
Tourism Secretary Parvez Dewan

New Delhi: With the aim of protecting and promoting heritage buildings across the country, government today said tourism is the only way to preserve heritage sites.
“In Britain, we found tourism is the only way to maintain heritage properties by either turning them into museums or to allow tourists once or twice in a week to visit them with a fee. That alone can maintain heritage buildings,” Tourism Secretary Parvez Dewan said at the tourism conclave organised by PHDCCI here.
Taking note of unregulated mushrooming of vendors and various types of establishments in and around heritage sites, he said these kind of activities hamper the growth of tourism.
Advocating regulated construction activities near heritage sites, he said, “We have got great heritage buildings all over in India. We got palaces, forts and likewise.
Wherever there are heritage buildings there is pressure from neighbouring buildings to construct houses near it. A better tourism experience can be planned by permitting controlled construction activities in and around the heritage sites.”
Seeking people’s cooperation and participation in preserving heritage sites, he said, “No government in the world has the funds to maintain every haveli in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh or elsewhere. Even if government has funds it will not be possible to do it. People’s cooperation is required for this.”
The Tourism Secretary also suggested putting blue plaques in front of heritage buildings signifying their importance.
“I will pursuade states to put blue plaques infront of heritage buildings in state capitals to preserve them,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of heritage properties in promoting tourism, he said the conservation and preservation of the areas around the monuments not only provide an additional opportunity for growth and expansion of heritage tourism in India but also enhance the experience of domestic and foreign tourists.
“The preservation and showcasing heritage will definitely increase the number of foreign tourists in the country,” he said.
As far as intangible heritage is concerned, Dewan said, “We have to promote our cuisine, music and culture also.”
The Tourism Ministry has taken the initiative of identifying, diversifying, developing and promoting the new niche tourism products like wellness tourism, medical tourism, polo tourism, film and adventure tourism to make the country a 365-day destination. -PTI

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