Budget 2018: Kumarakom to get a face lift

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Kumarakom, in Kerala, is selected to develop as one of the 10 iconic tourist destinations in India, which is presented in the annual Union Budget for 2018-19, by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. He said this can be achieved by adopting a holistic approach of development with the support of the private sector.

During the budget announcement on February 1, the minister said that the Central Government would like to convert 10 popular tourist destinations into iconic and model destinations. These iconic places will be developed as model destinations with the help of private partnership.

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Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Ajantha, Ellora, Humayun’s tomb, Red Fort, Amer Fort, Qutub Minar, Morjim Beach in Goa, Somnath Temple, Khajuraho Temple, Hampi, Mahabalipuram and  Kaziranga National Park are the other iconic destinations which are going to get a face lift. “Kumarakom was not in the list at first. But, was included later after the request from the ministry,” said Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister for Tourism, Govt of India.

Rs 1100 crore has been allocated under Swades Darshan, to improve connectivity of several tourist destinations across the nation, including the Pathanamthitta-Gavi-Vagamon-Thekkadi belt.

Jaitley also announced that the ministry is planning to enhance the visitor experience at 110 model monuments which come under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). This would be done under the National Heritage City Augmentation scheme of the government.

A tunnel will be constructed under the Sela Pass located on the border between Tawang and West Kameng in Arunachal Pradesh to improve connectivity and tourism in that north eastern state.

The minister also said that the government will enhance airport capacity to handle one billion trips a year. The 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads have been already activated under the Regional Connectivity scheme of the government and operations have already been started on 16 such places.