The state tourism department has decided to engage folk artistes and cultural troupes to entertain tourists who check into resorts and lodges run by the department across Bengal.
The aim of the initiative is two-fold, said department sources. While tourists will get the opportunity to experience local folk and tribal culture, artistes can make some money.
In north Bengal, particularly in the Dooars, folk troupes regularly perform at government and private resorts and lodges in the evening hours to entertain visitors, but the pandemic-induced lockdown dried up their income.
“That is why the initiative has been planned along with the state information and cultural affairs department. We will start such cultural evenings from next week in all our lodges and resorts,” said Jyoti Ghosh, deputy director of tourism in north Bengal.
Sources revealed that the information and cultural affairs department will sent the troupes to the properties run by the tourism department. Among these are Bhorer Alo in Gajoldoba, Tilabari, Murti Tourism Resort near Gorumara National Park, and the tourist lodge in Madarihat, the entry point to the Jaldapara National Park.
“The troupes will perform in their traditional attire and play traditional musical instruments. It will be a new experience for tourists, thousands of whom are expected to visit the region from next week onwards during the festive season,” said a tourism official.
Surya Banerjee, the district information & cultural officer (DICO) of Jalpaiguri, said they were planning to host 45-minute events in each venue.
Initially, such events will be held thrice a week, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
“But if we get good response and there are tourists in these accommodations on other days, we will sent cultural troupes to the resorts every day. For each performance, we will hand over an honorarium to artistes,” Banerjee said.
To contact them, his department will use its database of folk artistes. In Bengal, thousands of folk artistes and groups/troupes are enrolled with the department.
The DICO added that troupes would obey social distancing and perform in open spaces at resorts. If there is no such space in a property, banquet or conference halls would be used. Microphones won’t be used at because all these properties are near reserve forests.