The Telegraph
Saturday , November 3 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Know your roots’ invitation to island nation with travel deal
- Top tourist guides with in-depth knowledge of Bihar & good English-speaking skills to assist Mauritian visitors

People from Mauritius will soon be in the state to know their roots.

Elated by the warmth of the island nation at the recently concluded Indian diaspora meet in October, the tourism department has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Mauritius-based Tour Operators’ Association and the tourist inflow is expected to start soon.

Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kissen was also invited to the meet and now the state would return the favour. The department has decided to rope in the best guides in the business to cater to the island nation’s travellers.

Mauritius has thousands of families with their ancestors migrating from Bihar at least two centuries ago.

Tourism minister Sunil Kumar said: “We had gone to the meet with a special package offer, titled ‘Know Your Roots’. The two-day event started on October 27. However, we stayed there until October 31 and met tourism department officials and proposed our plan. The Mauritian government was very interested and facilitated help by arranging meetings with several tour operators. They said many people had expressed their interest in visiting Bihar but couldn’t do so as there was no such package. After discussion with travel agents in Port Louis, we decided upon two special packages — one consisting of three nights and four days and the other of five nights and six days. We signed an MoU with them and things are being finalised at present.”

Sunil said the department would appoint the tour guides. “The tour operators in Mauritius had some requests, one of which was the presence of qualified personnel who would help the tourists after they land in the state. The guide appointment process will start soon. The focus would be on choosing people who have a sound knowledge on Bihar tourism and speak good English as well. The details of the selection process will be announced soon. Also, the package rates will be decided within a week and send to our counterparts in Mauritius. We expect tourist inflow from Mauritius early next year,” Sunil added.

Sources said the Mauritian tour operators had requested the state for proper arrangements. “They have requested car services for the tourists as well as good hotels to check in. There are some tourist circuits in Bihar such as the Buddhist Circuit covering Gaya, Nalanda, Bhagalpur, Patna, East Champaran, Vaishali, West Champaran and Jehanabad. There is also the Sufi Circuit under which people can travel to Jehanabad, Patna, Munger, Nalanda and Rohtas. The tourists can also visit Aurangabad, Gaya, Nalanda, Bhagalpur, Banka, Jehanabad, Kaimur and Sitamarhi under the Hindu Circuit. Under the Jain Circuit, travellers can visit Nalanda and Bhagalpur. There is also the Sikh Circuit and the Eco Circuit. Tourists can choose any of these. It has been decided that the responsibility of the Mauritian tour operators will be until the Patna airport,” a department official said.

“We are in constant touch with the tour operators there and the entire programme is being worked out. By November-end, most of the things would be finalised,” Sunil added.