PARADIP: The tourism and cultural heritage of Jagatsinghpur district is all set to get a facelift.

The State Government has decided to spend Rs 8 crore for the purpose. It includes a tourist complex at circuit house in Jagatsinghpur.

Khurali village in Hoshiarpur district, associated with the great saint of medieval India, Guru Ravidass, is all set to become a rural tourism destination village.

Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in India have been involved in an initiative on Rural Tourism. Covering 36 sites spread geographically over the country, these pilot project experiences had much to offer in terms of learning about the intersection between community dynamics and tourism projects.

Encouraged by the response to its rural tourism project, the Government has identified 14 more village sites which would be opened for foreign tourists in the near future. Spread over six states, these new sites would add to the 15 model villages that already exist and are attracting an impressive number of tourists.

The Minister of Tourism and Culture Ambika Soni has said that the development and promotion of tourism is primarily undertaken by the State Governments/Union territories themselves. However, the Ministry of Tourism provides financial asistance for development of tourism infrastructure on the basis of project proposals received from the State Government/Union Territories.

Projecting the North-east as an ideal destination was a priority with the Union Tourism Ministry, and the region has of late been receiving enhanced Central assistance for tourism development. Revealing this, S Banerjee, Secretary, Union Ministry of Tourism, today told the media that while the north-eastern States received an amount of Rs 319 crore for tourism infrastructure development during the Tenth Plan, an amount of Rs 169 crore was released in the year 2007-08 alone.

To give a much needed fillip to the domestic tourism business, the Centre is planning to spend about Rs 500 crore for developing infrastructure in 20 tourist spots in the country. "We have already identified the locations where we will provide world class infrastructure facilities to boost tourism,' said minister for tourism and culture, Ambika Soni.

The Great Indian Travel Bazaar 2008 beginning here this Monday is going to be a major pan-Indian travel mart, focusing for the first time on in-bound travel. As many as 163 key foreign tour operators and travel writers from 42 countries are scheduled to join the which will have 200 booths showcasing and marketing various tourism products in India.

To enlist State in the tourism map of the world, Madhya Pradesh Eco-tourism Development Board (MPEDB) is working on about fifty new eco-tourism projects across the state.