GTA tourism fair highlights adventure sports in Hills
Kolkata: Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong are no more just tourist destinations which people would visit for holidaying but with necessary steps and measures taken by the administration, the Hills have a lot more to offer.
With facilities like paragliding, rafting, hill biking and cycling in place, the tourism department of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) is now promoting the same through a tourism festival that began at Netaji Indoor Stadium on Friday. The GTA is now carrying out development work in the Hills after peace was restored with the intervention of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Besides promoting the scope of adventure tourism in Darjeeling, a major step has also been taken to make people aware of the homestay facilities in the Hills.
It may be mentioned that the Chief Minister directed the authorities to take proper steps to ensure development in the tourism sector in Darjeeling besides stressing on the improvement of homestay facilities. An official of the tourism department of the GTA, Bhim Sunam, who led the team in the tourism fair, said: "There are two persons in the team. One looks after adventure tourism and the other takes care of the homestays. Both of them are making people aware of the facilities in the trade fair." He further said the number of tourists in Darjeeling has gone up by manifold times.
Sangay Sherpa, who looks after the adventure tourism part, said one can go rafting at Malli in Kalimpong. There is a facility for paragliding both in Darjeeling town and Delo in Kalimpong. Moreover, one can also enjoy bicycling in the Hills. There are around 200 bicycles available that tourists can hire to go for riding at a minimum rate. The "mountain biking" is available at Chatakpur in Darjeeling.
Moreover, as a part of adventure tourism, infrastructure has been developed for "camp stay" near Tiger Hill. Sandakhphu and Singalila have gained popularity for trekking.
It may be mentioned that 80 percent tourists in Darjeeling are below 40 years and as a result adventure tourism is gaining popularity in Darjeeling.
At the same time, there are now more than 600 facilities for homestays in the Hills where tourists prefer to stay for environment-friendly atmosphere without any pollution.
With improving infrastructure for adventure tourism and homestays, necessary steps have also been taken for safety and security of tourists.
Meanwhile, J P Shaw, Regional Director (East) of the Ministry of Tourism, attended the inaugural ceremony of the trade fair. He also spoke about the Centre's Prasad and Swadesh Darshan projects to ensure the development of tourism in the country.