Tourism development potential in Bihar
written by Mr. Subodh Kumar
Bihar is an agrarian State. The main revenue of state comes from agriculture. Industries have very low penetration due. Due to smaller size of farm land, the earning from agriculture is limited.
From the time immemorial Bihar is known as land of rich historical and cultural heritage traditions, seats of learning, archeological site, ancient universities, religious site, wildlife, and bird and tiger sanctuary. Bihar is blessed with rich cultural and historical heritage which if developed properly, generate huge revenue for state and mass employment to its citizen
Existing area of tourist Interest.
There are already following well defined and identified tourism circuit broadly classified as Buddhist Circuit, Jain Circuit, Ramayan Circuit, Sufi Circuit, Gandhi Circuit and Eco Circuit. These tourist destination can be of major interest for tourist of both domestic and international travelers. Bihar posses enough resources which can be if decently packaged into world class tourism products which can grab the interest of new age tourist. These places can be repackaged into following.
- Heritage Tourism : With so many place of historical and archeological importance . Religious site built in ancient time, e.g Mundeswari temples, Rohtas Fort and many more can become major interest of tourists from domestic and across the world .
- Religious Tourism: Recently Concluded 350th birthday celebration (prakasha Parwa) of Guru goviid Singh ji under the guidance of yourself had attractant attention of world and created very positive image of Bihar worldwide. Bihar is also known for its Chatt Puja and can be also used to attract tourism if properly marketed.
- Health Tourism : Spring site have tremendous potential for health tourism thanks to its mhad shown the edicinal values. Hot springs cure many physical ailments and ensure good health. Place such as sitakund of Munger, Bramha Kund of Rajgir and Bhimband of Munger dist. can have potential to become health resort for development of therapeutic tourism. The present Bihar School of Yoga is also very popular and can be used to attract tourist.
- Waterfront Tourism : The river Ganga offers vast potential for development of water based sports and activities along its stretch. Riverfront development has to taken at identified place like Patna and Bhagalpur. These river front should consist amusement park, children park, facility of toy train, eatery, small zoological park etc to attract tourist and should provide entertainment for a whole day. The river front developed at Ahmadabad can be taken as benchmark for development of waterfront. Apart from Riverfront following activities can also be carried out
- Cruise at River Ganga : We should run luxurious air-conditioned cruise which should ply on river ganga. The cruise can be run both on short and long haul. The short haul cruise should have facility for food along with display of cultural program on board showing the culture of Bihar. Long haul cruise can run from Banaras in north to Kolkata in East with stoppage in between at the place of tourist interest.
- Ganga Dolphin Watch : There are only four river which have dolphin in the world. River Ganaga is one of them. It is understood that out of 2000 of River Dolphin available in Ganga 1100 dolphin are available in water body of ganga in Bihar . Dolphin watch can be developed as major interest for tourist both from domestic as well as foreigner.
- Development of Island created in River Ganga : We know that there are many natural Island created in the middle of river ganga. This island can be developed as modern tourist spot with good connectivity from the shore of nearby town. These islands have potential to attract large number of tourist both from domestic and also from the overseas tourist. It is not out of way to mention that famous Haridwar city is developed on edge of a Canal coming out from the main river Ganga. We can think of developing such city on one of several island available in River Ganga.
- Arts, Crafts and Rural Tourism : There are huge demand for rural tourism where tourist want to have taste of life of village and want to see how people are staying in the village. These model villages should have all basic facilities for comfort of tourist. This tourist village should have facility to showcase our cultural heritage, crafts display like demonstration of Madhubani painting, pottery, Milking of animal, Ponds for fishing activates, Farm with fresh vegetable, Spinning of silk yarn , Folk Music , dance and drama which are popular in Bihar. These theme village should located near city and should be well connected by road.
- Wild life / Bird Sanctuary and adventure Tourism : Balmiki Tiger reserve , Kaimur Sanctuary and others area can be developed for wildlife tourism. Wild life Sanctuaries need to equipped with necessary infrastructure in terms of accommodation, watchtower, experienced naturalist etc. Similarly Kanwar lake of Begusarai and Berlla Lake of Vaishali which attract large number of migratory bird can be developed as bird sanctuary.
- Development of Tourism cluster : Nalanda and Rajgir have been developed but need to be upgraded with world class tourist infrastructure though credit goes to the personal interest and guidance shown by Hon CM Sir for the development effort put in till now. Similarly Gaya and Bodhgaya are also reasonably developed and already popular among tourist but they too need further infrastructure upgrade to world class. There is huge potential for development of Bhagalpur Cluster which can covers area from Munger, Vikramshila , Bhim bandh etc. Similarly Sasaram cluster which can cover area from Sasaram and Famous Mundeswari Temple . These cluster should be developed on mission mode and should be completed in two to Three years
- Promotion of local cuisine and sweet : Bihar host several mouth watering dishes available only in Bihar like Litti Chokha, Chura Dahi, Khobhi lie from Barh and Dhanaruaha, Khaza from Silaw, Peda from Biharsharief, Khirmohan from Chauparan , Tilkut from Gaya, Belgrami from Udwantnagar and Balushahi from Runni saidpur. There are several other dishes which can be explored. These dishes have unique taste and had potential to become popular amongst tourist. These dishes can be promoted by conducting food festival both in Bihar and outside Bihar to show cases its delicacy. This will also supplement of our CM dream of one Bihar Food in every plate of India.
- Capital city Patna A center for MICE, business and tourism – A gateway for arrivals: Patna can now boast of an international standards of museum, Budha Jayanti Park, Upcoming ganga water Front, Marine Drive and host of religious site. It’s proximities to tourist destinations, particularly in North Bihar. With new airports and convention facilities, Patna will be a major MICE ( M –Meeting, I – Incentive, C – Convention, E - Events) Patna hence can apart from destination itself, can be a gateway to all parts of the state.
Needs Attention on:
- Connectivity - Bihar is linked by State & National Highways. Road condition has improved but it required further up graded so that travel time can be minimized between the tourist spot.
- Accommodation - We required a host of good / star hotels to cater the need of domestic as well as overseas tourist. These accommodation should be capable to need of budget customer, Tourists on leisure trip and also from the affluent class. Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) can rope in Private Guest House / Apartment etc near the major tourist area for tourist accommodation. Several available Govt. guest house spread all over Bihar can also be used to accommodate tourist through centralized booking engine.
- Development of Airport ; Bihar is having two functional airports at Patna and Gaya . Two more airport one at Bhagalpur and other at Motihari / Raxual will serve the need of Tourist and also local citizen. Now Govt. of India is also promoting air service to small cities under UDAN scheme (Dharbhanga and Kishenganj already taken under UDAN). We can be benefitted from the above scheme.
- Hospitality – Tourist required very special service. Government Hotel / Guest House / Transportation service should run on PPP mode by the known hospitality service provider. This will increase the revenue of Govt and at same time the Tourist can avail better services .
- Promotion Program – To portrait favorable image of Bihar across India and as well as in Countries like Japan, South Korea, Bangladesh, Thailand, Sri Lanka, UK, Germany, USA and Nepal etc for an effective marketing of Bihar tourism and to improve the perception about Bihar in India and abroad. Brand Bihar need to be created by roping in famous personality from Bihar to create BRAND IMAGE of Bihar.
- Tourist Police : It is suggested that Govt. should create the cadre of Tourist Police headed by an IG . The tourist police should be responsible for security, should assist as tourist guide, local help and should be responsible for first and last point contact for the tourist visiting.
- Regulated development of the destination : A comprehensive development plan for each destination needs to put in place to identify hotel sites and other tourist related infrastructure. Assistance of consultant should be taken to prepare master plan for development.
It is not out of way to mention that many countries like Bali, Cambodia, Thailand, Fiji, Maldives, Nepal and Switzerland etc are having tourism as major source of income and their economy thrives mostly on tourism.
Every living person of globe who believes in Hinduism, Sikhism, from Jainism and Buddhism has religious reason to visit Bihar once in their life time. We should able to extend their stay at Bihar by increasing tourism faculties / Activities. Bihar had potential to upgrade to world class tourism destination. This will not only increase the per capita income of the state, but it will also add employment of its citizen. I am very sure that tourism is having potential to remove poverty of Bihar and Bihar will regain its lost glory.
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