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1 Jul 2018

Tourist circuit with Nepal

AVIJIT SINHA, TT, Jul 01, 2018, Siliguri: Stakeholders of the tourism industry in north Bengal and Nepal have decided to promote both regions as an integrated tourism circuit.

The decision was made at the Third Indo-Nepal Friendship Meet that was organised by the Nepal Consulate General office in Calcutta and Association for Conservation & Tourism (ACT) in Mirik. The meet concluded on Friday.

"As the landscape is contiguous, we want the tourism sector both in north Bengal and eastern Nepal to flourish. A joint effort to promote the region as an integrated circuit can help in this growth," said Raj Basu, a representative of ACT.

In course of the meet, it has been decided that a team of stakeholders, comprising people from both sides of the border, will take the task to approach their respective governments for improvement of roads, promotion of homestay accommodations based in Nepal and joint publicity campaign by government departments, agencies and boards.

Those present at the meet also decided that a formal launch of joint campaign of tourist destinations in north Bengal and Nepal will be made in Calcutta in December.

"It is the nearest metro that generates huge number of tourists every year. There will be a Himalayan Orange Tourism Festival in Calcutta on December where the destinations located on both sides of the border, will be highlighted. Also, a meeting would be held to rope in other adjoining countries in the exercise, for a combined promotion of destinations located in these countries, would be held in eastern Nepal. The idea is to offer a larger canvas to tourists so that they can have more choices and simultaneously help in economic empowerment of stakeholders, particularly in rural areas," said Samrat Sanyal, a veteran in travel trade.

For past few years, people associated with tourism both in north Bengal and in the adjoining areas of Nepal have been putting thrust for a combined tourist circuit.

"We could move ahead a few steps through these meetings. Along with the campaign plan for new destinations, we also intend to focus on conservation of nature and wildlife. In this region, it is necessary to work for conservation of elephants, the red panda and salamander. There should be an elephant sanctuary in eastern Nepal as the elephant corridor in north Bengal ends at the India-Nepal border for which we would approach the Nepal government," said Basu.

He pointed that the Khangchendzonga National Park in Sikkim has been recognised as a world heritage site by Unesco. "It is necessary to increase the scope of the site to the contiguous areas of eastern Nepal and the Himalayan tracts of Bengal."

The stakeholders said they would also press for opening tourism information centres in Mirik, which is close to the India-Nepal border so that tourists can learn about destinations which are on other side of the border.

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