75-day-long Snow Festival ends in Himachal

Shimla, March 29 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the 75-day-long Snow Festival, which concluded on Monday, would go a long way in promoting the rich diverse culture and traditions of this tribal district of Lahaul-Spiti and also act as a catalyst for promoting tourism activities.
He said the Atal Tunnel beneath the majestic Rohtang Pass, has opened new vistas of development as it has ensured round the year connectivity.
He said that this tunnel has also given a big boost to the tourism development as it has opened the virgin and beautiful valley to the world tourists.
Also, this would not only provide ample employment and self-employment opportunities to the locals but would also transform the economy.
Thakur, who was addressing the concluding function virtually, said the Atal Tunnel and tourism were gradually becoming synonymous as over 5,000 tourist vehicles were daily crossing the tunnel towards the Lahaul Valley.
He said steps need to be taken to provide best infrastructure to the tourists so that they could stay in the valley comfortably.
He said this festival has helped the reviving the traditions almost on the verge of extinction, besides showcasing the diverse culture to the rest of the world.
Thakur said this would motivate the tourists world over to visit the valley to have a glimpse of the tribal culture and costumes.
“Before the tunnel was dedicated to the nation, there were only about 71 home-stay and today there were over 450 home-stays catering to the needs of the tourists.”
The Chief Minister said efforts must be made to diversify the Snow Festival so that it has something special and new to showcase before the rest of the world.
He said that he would personally apprise the Prime Minister about this event held after the Atal Tunnel was dedicated to the nation.
The state government would soon submit a concrete proposal before the Union Minister of Tourism for effective marketing of the Lahaul-Spiti as a tourist destination and steps would also be taken to ensure GI tagging of this event, he added.
Tribal Development Minister Ram Lal Markanda said that the whole event would be documented and expressed hope that the event would help in reviving the rich cultural and tradition of this tribal district.
He said that this festival has ensured effective participation of people and it was organised by contribution from people of the area. He said that the people running Home Stays would be provided effective training so that they could provide better services to the tourists.

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