Dehradun, June 21 : As Uttarakhand hosts the fourth International Yoga Day on Thursday, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat feels that the event may help attract more tourists to the state, creating more job and business opportunities.
The reason Rawat thinks the yoga day will boost tourism is because of the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the mega event which he reasons was watched by people across the world.
"Hosting the main International Yoga Day event undoubtedly gave a new identity to Uttarakhand as 193 countries watched it.
"As Prime Minister Modi himself participated in the event, Uttarakhand will get a world class platform.
It would really attract domestic as well as foreign tourists," Rawat told IANS.
If tourism gets a boost, it will help in creating new jobs and business opportunities in the state.
"If everything goes well as we are expecting, Uttarakhand will get a new direction.
The door to employment will open for youths."
The Chief Minister said over three crore tourists, including 18 lakh foreigners, visit Uttarakhand every year.
If the number increases, the state will earn more revenue.
Rawat said the attraction of foreign tourists towards Uttarakhand is mainly because it is famous as an yoga centre of India.
After this event, the state's fame will "definitely increase".
He said more than 35 volunteers of foreign countries participated in this event and did yoga 'asanas' along with nearly 50,000 people in the sprawling lawn of Dehradun's Forest Research Institute (FRI).
Over 45,000 people did yoga postures on mats while around 5,000 people, including security forces, witnessed the event.
"The successful hosting of the mega event would have surely sent a message to others watching the function in other countries.
They would surely want to learn the yoga technique and visit Uttarakhand," Rawat added.
Rawat on Wednesday wrote a blog thanking the Prime Minister for selecting the state capital as the host of the main event on International Yoga Day.
The tourism sector in Uttarakhand suffered badly in the aftermath of the 2013 devastating flash floods in the hills.
Officials in Uttarakhand administration said domestic tourist footfall in the state after the 2013 disaster fell by over 25 per cent while it went down by over 20 per cent in terms of foreign tourism.
Tourism has again picked up, and officials expect the International Yoga Day to give it a further boost.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)