The inflow of both domestic and foreign tourists has gone up in the state in the past one year, senior officials of state tourism department said.
In 2014, 5.10 crore tourists visited the state. Of them more than 4.10 core were domestic tourists and over 16- 17 lakhs foreign tourists.
Senior officials of the department said that the number had gone up considerably in 2015. The highest numbers of domestic tourists are from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The foreign tourists are from European countries and Japan. Many Japanese tourists go to Odisha after visiting West Bengal. The domestic tourists visit the Tarakeshwar temple, Tarapith and Jairambati and Kamarpukur. Religious tourism plays an important role and many people visit Bishnupur in Bankura to see the temples with terracotta work on the walls. Many people also visit Murshidabad and the development work taken up surrounding Lalbagh and Motijheel.
The foreign tourists are interested in the Sundarbans and Murshidabad by cruise. All tickets in the high end cruise to Murshidabad sell like hot cakes. The concentration of tourists in Belur Math and Dakshineshwar temple has gone up remarkably. The state government has also set up a multipurpose building guest house beside the bus terminus.
Tourism is now the thrust area in West Bengal. In Gajoldoba which has been renamed as Bhorer Alo by the chief minister Mamata Banerjee two budget hotels and a star hotel are coming up. The promoters of the budget hotels have got the Letter of Intent and construction of the hotels will begin soon. The star hotels will have all the modern facilities. The flow of domestic tourists to Dooars and its neighbourhood has also gone up considerably. Recently, Chief Minister had opened a safari park in Jalpaiguri. Darjeeling has once again become a tourist hotspot.
The tourism department has taken up a comprehensive scheme to upgrade the lodges. Beautification programmes has been done to the garden attached to many of them.
The tourist lodge at Santiniketan has also been given a new look. The department has also proposed to start a walk around the city which will show the tourists some important institutions and heritage buildings in North Kolkata.