State Tourism minister Gautam Deb laid the foundation stone of a composite tourist complex near Bagdogra in the Darjeeling district on Saturday.
"This tourist complex will be the largest in North Bengal. It will be able to accommodate around 3,000 people in the multipurpose hall. Along with the Hall, there will be a lodge with 40 rooms, restaurants and cafeterias," stated minister Deb.
The complex will come up on a three-acre plot and will be built at a cost of Rs 40 crore. The Tourism department is constructing a boundary wall around the complex at a cost of Rs 95 lakh.
It is at the same place where the second edition of the Bengal Travel Mart was organised here in January. At that time people representing the tourism industry had suggested that a tourist hub to come up near Siliguri to host such events. The project took shape from the suggestions.
"The project is conveniently located. It is hardly three kilometre from the Bagdogra Airport and 10 kilometre from Siliguri. It will be a perfect venue for mega conferences. At the same time, tourists visiting North Bengal and Sikkim can avail the facilities available here," stated an official.
With the vantage location of Siliguri as a gateway to the North-East and with the close proximity of Sikkim, Bhutan and Nepal, it is fast emerging as an important tourist transit point.
Lauding the efforts of the Tourism minister, Raj Basu, Convenor, Association for Conservation and Tourism (ACT) suggested: "Tourism infrastructure is still unorganised in these regions. For this, there is a need for an implementable tourism policy. Inclusive development is the need of the hour. Stakeholders have to be consulted for sustainable tourism policies."
Every year around three and a half lakh domestic and 30,000 foreign tourists visit the Darjeeling district.