Destination East: 52 foreign delegates to visit Darjeeling, Terai & Dooars
Darjeeling: As a part of "Destination East," 52 foreign delegates from 30 countries will visit Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars, where West Bengal Tourism department plans to promote tourist destinations of North Bengal.
"Destination East tourism summit will be organised in Kolkata on January 18 and 19. 102 delegates from the travel industry from 30 countries along with delegates from India will be attending. Following which they will be taken to different tourist destinations of West Bengal so that they get acquainted with these places and get a first-hand experience," stated Tourism Minister Gautam Deb.
On January 21, all the 52 delegates will first visit Gajoldoba around 30 km from Siliguri. The delegates from Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Kuwait, Malaysia, Netherlands, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Srilanka, Switzerlan, Taiwan, Thailand, US, the UK and Russia, will visit "Bhorer Alo", the eco-tourism destination developed by the West Bengal Government.
The visit is being jointly organised by the State Tourism Department and CII North Bengal Zonal Council with the objective of promoting "Bhorer Alo" among potential investors and tourists abroad.
"A variety of activities and attractions for the tourists are being developed in and around Bhorer Alo. Forest safari, boating, cycling trail, orchid park, angling, elephant rides, amphitheatre, eco park, scenic walkways, tethered hot air balloon facilities will be available at Bhorer Alo," stated the Minister. Besides these facilities, a 10-bed tourist health clinic, mini fire station, tourist police station, helipad for high-end tourists along with resorts and a youth hostel are also planned on the site.
Familiarisation trips have been planned out for the delegates. 11 delegates will be visiting the "Bengal Himalaya" circuit (Kalimpong-Darjeeling), 19 will be visiting "Hills and Forests" circuit ( Darjeeling-Dooars), 8 will be visiting "Darjeeling Heritage circuit" (Darjeeling), 6 will be visiting "Tea Heritage circuit" (Darjeeling- Glenbvurn) and 8 will be visiting "Hills and Lakes circuit comprising of Darjeeling and Mirik.
Similar familiarization trips are being organised for South Bengal, the circuits include Sunderbans, Purulia, beaches of Bengal and Kolkata heritage.
According to Union Tourism minister Alphons Kannanthanam, India earned an income of $27 billion from foreign tourist arrivals in the year 2017. However, these regions witness around 30,000 foreign footfall approximately each year.
"Considering the heritage, Himalayas and human resources of North Bengal are able to attract global tourists here. We have one of the best organised rural tourism contents in the country empowering villagers along with the offering of cross-border tourist circuits with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. Hence, Destination East is in focus," stated Raj Basu, Convenor, Association for Conservation of Tourism.