With only a handful of holiday spots in West Bengal, and nothing new in the works in a while, there as been a tangible burnout in the tried and tested holiday locations. So, the state tourism department is finally taking an initiative to revive the long-suffering tourism industry in the state.
State tourism minister, Rachhpal Singh, said the government is trying to enliven the once decaying condition of West Bengal tourism, “Apart from renovating the existing tourism assets in the state we’re trying to find new venues as well.”
The government is willing to search for fresh tourist venues, as both domestic and foreign tourists are tired of visiting just a smattering of spots like Digha, Darjeeling and Sunderbans.
New tourist locations like the Panchvati Mountains in Purulia, and Maithon in Burdwan are at the top of the list of new tourist venues in which both government and private travel agents have shown interest. Both parties agree that the development of tourism, focusing of these new travel destinations in the state will be mutually beneficial for the state tourism industry and for the development of those areas as well.
“Purulia has its own cultural heritage, and, centering the traditional Chhou dance, we might develop cultural tourism there, especially since the district is one of the most backward in the state,” said Joydeep Mukherjee, regional vice president, IATA agent’s association of India.
The government has already instructed private tour operators in the state to look for fresh travel destinations and the tourism agencies have responded positively to the proposal. “We have started sending our teams across the state to find new tourist venues. Once we’re satisfied with the new spots we are searching for, we’ll recommend it to the government with a venue list,” said Anil Punjabi, chairman of the Travel Agent’s Federation of India.
City-based travel agencies have also welcomed this initiative. “Presently, we don’t have any in-state tour programmes, but if new venues are located we will start tours within the state,” said Soumitra Kundu, travel agent.
Tour agencies have already come up with new plans, in which they have included Graveyard tourism. This fascinating genre of tourism would include visits by British and NRI tourists who can visit graveyards in the city where their forefathers have been buried. The agencies are also planning to offer a special package to different parts of the city related to Mother Teresa, her life and works.