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Bengal seeks investment in tourism

The state government seeks help of a consultant to attract Indian and global investors to its tourism sector.

india Updated: Aug 08, 2006 13:30 IST

The West Bengal government has decided to appoint a consultant to attract Indian and international investors to the state's tourism sector.

"We are in the final leg of appointing a consultant to attract both Indian and international investors to the state's tourism sector. The decision will be announced over the next fortnight," said state Tourism Minister Manabendra Mukherjee.

"The consultant will also help formulate the next tourism policy," he said.

According to Mukherjee, the concept of a success fee would be introduced for the first time, wherein the consultant's payment would be made on the basis of the number of investors attracted.

A public relations organisation would also be appointed in connection with this new focus on tourism, being pegged as a sunrise sector.

"We have identified 25-30 areas in tourism that can be developed in a big way. We are also in talks with various industries to attract private investment in tourism," Mukherjee said.

Tea tourism, river tourism, Raj-nostalgia tourism and eco-tourism are among the areas being looked at in a big way.

Mukherjee said he would be visiting Jalpaiguri in north Bengal to meet with the district administration and explore tourism potential in the area while a visit to Siliguri was slated later this month to meet tea-garden owners.

"We have already received a proposal for a Rs 520 million ($11 million) tea tourism project in north Bengal," he added.

The tourism restructuring exercise also includes revamping tourist lodges under the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC).

Of these, 14 lodges are already under private management.