The World Bank Board of Executive Directors confirmed a loan worth USD 40 million for a tourism development project in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) will grant the loan which has a 5-year grace period, and maturity term of 19 years.

The Uttar Pradesh Pro-Poor Tourism Development Project will enhance the tourism potential in the state and also improve the infrastructure and services. The state will also be prioritising on restructuring tourism in a way that promotes the assets of the state in a sustainable manner directly benefiting poor residents and local entrepreneurs, such as rickshaw drivers, local artisans and street vendors.

Junaid Ahmad, Country Director- India, World Bank cited, “Tourism is experiencing a period of strong growth driven by India’s burgeoning middle class. Uttar Pradesh with its rich historical, religious and cultural resources, has unrivalled tourism potential. However, the economic benefits of tourism trickle down unevenly to local communities.”

Ahmad further said that the tourism project will enable culturally rich local communities to share their knowledge, traditions and heritage with visiting tourists for generating income.

The project will focus on Agra and the Braj region, which despite being two of the prime tourist and pilgrimage destinations of India and UP, have some of the state’s highest poverty rates.

To ensure a destination-level approach, the project will finance the preparation of a tourism development plan for Agra, leverage and partner with the private sector, as well as other key agencies working in the city, such as the World Monuments Fund.

Given its association with the Krishna mythology and its popular parikrama (pilgrimage) routes, the Braj region draws millions of pilgrims annually. The project will revitalize some of these assets, many of which are intrinsically linked to local communities’ way of life with major emphasis on rescuing the living heritage of the region.

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