The Madhu Kora Government in Jharkhand has accorded top-most priority to promotion of tourism in the state. The state plans to globally promote all the facets of tourism, be it eco, spiritual or rural. The mission being to put the state firmly on the global tourism map by 2010. On an average 30-35 lakh domestic tourists visit Jharkhand every year during the peak tourist season. Of this, 25 lakh visit Deoghar, which is famous for religious tourism. Domestic tourists generally come from neighbouring West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Deoghar or Baidyanath Dham is an important pilgrim centre of the state. Scores of pilgrims visit the temple on foot travelling for around 100 km during the month of Shravan (July-August as per the English calendar) to pay their obeisance to Lord Shiva.
Speaking on the state's tourism plans and initiatives, Dipak Singh, Director-Tourism and Managing Director, Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) said, "We are looking for partners for progress. The State Government is also keen on improving tourism infrastructure in the state, it is facilitating the creation of tourist bungalows, yatri niwas, lodges, budget category hotels, wayside facilities and resorts with private participation on a PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) model."
The state government aims to set up more budget hotels in the state under the PPP model. Presently, JTDC is refurbishing its existing properties, as well as improving on the road network, electricity and air connectivity to the state capital. Few private airlines have started their operations from Ranchi, connecting the state capital with other important metros. JTDC is also contemplating to offer land at concessional rates to hospitality groups for construction of hotels and other wayside facilities.
To attract more foreign tourists into Jharkhand, the state government has also identified the famous Ranchi-Netarhat-Betla circuit for developing tourism and also an inter-religious circuit in Parasnath temple. Situated at 4431 ft above sea level, Parasnath also known as Samved Shikhar is the most sacred place of the Jains and attracts Jain tourists throughout the year. It is the highest hill in the state and is about 190 km from Ranchi, the state capital.
To promote adventure tourism in the state, the Tourism Department is also looking at developing several sites in the state as water sports destinations under the PPP-model.
Jharkhand is undoubtedly a treasure-house of herbal plants and forest resources. More than 1,500 herbal plants are found in the country and a huge chunk of them is found in the State. The state therefore sees an opportunity for eco-tourism.
On the hospitality front, the department has received encouraging feedback from domestic and international hospitality groups to set up star-category and budget hotels in the state. The state has also embarked on an aggressive marketing and promotion exercise. It is participating at major travel and tourism marts in the country and abroad. A high-level delegation from the Department of Tourism visited WTM London and now Jharkhand Tourism will be participating at the forthcoming ITB Berlin event. As part of its marketing exercise, it plans to launch a comprehensive website and tourism information centers in different parts of the country.