Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Saturday laid emphasis on strengthening air connectivity to increase the tourist footfall in the state and achieve the target of arrivals to around five crore annually.
Around 1.5 crore tourists visited the state in 2022.
Sukhu said 16 heliports were being constructed in all district headquarters, including the tribal and far flung areas, in a phased manner to facilitate the tourists to access unexplored destinations in no time, a statement issued here said.
The chief minister also saw a detailed presentation on how to enhance the tourism influx to achieve the desired target.
Nine heliports, including Jaskot in Hamirpur, Rakkar and Palampur in Kangra, Sultanpur in Chamba, Manali in Kullu, Jispa, Sissu and Rangreek in Lahaul-Spiti, and Sharbo in district Kinnaur, were to be developed in the first phase, according to the presentation.
Sukhu said the detailed project reports (DPRs) for the construction of Sultanpur, Rakkar, Palampur and Jaskot heliports had been received while the process was underway for other heliports.
Apart from this, the Kangra Airport was being expanded to facilitate the high-end tourists, he added.
The chief minister informed that the remaining seven heliports would be set up in the second phase in Pangi and Holi in Chamba, Auhar in Bilaspur, Dharkiyari in Sirmaur, Chanshal in Shimla, Jankaur-Haar in Una and Galanag in Solan.
Sukhu said approval has been received under the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) for establishing the heliport at Rakkar.
The FCA cases of six heliports, including Jaskot, Manali, Jispa, Sissu, Rangrik, Pangi and Holi, have been uploaded on the portal, he added.
The chief minister said the heliports once fully commissioned would prove to be a boon to the state's tourism sector.
"When the destinations are made easily accessible, many people prefer to travel there, thereby giving a fillip to the local tourism industry and adding to the economy," he added.
-With PTI Input