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17 Feb 2018

Homestay policy on anvil

TT, Siliguri: The Bengal tourism department is in the process of drafting a homestay tourism policy and has simultaneously taken the task of focussing on adventure tourism in different destinations of Bengal.

State tourism minister Gautam Deb, who along with some of his cabinet colleagues inaugurated the third edition of Bengal Travel Mart (BTM) here on Friday, said: "There is huge prospect of tourism in our state. Bengal attracts tourists from across the world. Our government is working for improvement of this sector and right now, we are working on a homestay policy and also for promotion of adventure tourism."

The three-day travel mart would be attended by buyers (who sent tourists in the state) from other parts of the country and also from abroad. It is being organised by the Eastern Himalaya Travel & Tour Operators' Association (EHTTOA) with support from the state tourism department and NB development department.

The plan is to highlight tourism potential of the state before people associated with travel trade in India and abroad.

"This year, BTM carries a different significance. This is because tourist inflow has declined since June last year in Darjeeling hills due to the 104-day long strike. During the event, the local stakeholders will have the opportunity to interact with buyers and apprise them about the current situation in hills. The event can largely help in winning back their confidence so that the inflow of tourists turns to normal during the upcoming summer season," said Debashis Maitra, president, EHTTOA.

He also pointed that in past one year, that is, since the last edition of BTM, there had been a number of developments in the state and in north Bengal with regard to tourism.

"New infrastructure and destinations have come up. Also, there will be a huge improvement in connectivity as construction of Asian Highways is in full swing and ILS would be commissioned in Bagdogra airport. These are some of the issues which we need to highlight before buyers during the meet to encourage them in sending more tourists here," added the EHTTOA president.

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