Around 130 delegates from various countries will congregate here from Saturday for a three-day meeting of the tourism working group of G20, which will discuss policies for the expansion of the global tourism industry with a special focus on adventure tourism in India.
“A series of issues pertaining to the tourism sector will be discussed during the sessions which would be held at the meet. The event will help in showcasing typical features of the area and expose foreign delegates to the opportunities in adventure tourism andthe local art and culture,”said Arvind Singh, the secretary of the Union tourism ministry.
He said through the meet and technical visits which the delegates would attend, there was a plan to disseminate a message that this region held huge prospects and potential for tourism.
During the next three days, the delegates will ascend to the hills to visit the Makaibari tea estate in Kurseong and travel in the world-famous toy train of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. They will also be in Darjeeling, a town set up by Britons.
While speaking to journalists, Singh mentioned the opportunities in adventure tourism — a sector to which the Centre is giving impetus to draw more international tourists — in north Bengal.
“In May, the Global Tourism Investors Summit will be held in Delhi. All states in India have been informed about the event and they are sending details of their policies and prospective areas of investment to us. Those would be elaborated before participants in the summit to draw fresh investments to the tourism sector,” said the senior official.
The ministry, he said, would also look into proposals like developing integrated tourism circuits in association with neighbouring countries like Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
Local stakeholders of the industry have time and again pointed out that the geographical proximity of north Bengal, especially Siliguri, to those countries, should be exploited to develop a common circuit for tourists.
“We are focusing both on inbound and outbound tourism. Such proposals are under consideration,” said Singh.
During the meeting, the tourism ministry will also promote local products by handing over souvenirs from the “one district, one product” list of items to the delegates.
They include a wooden owl set from Burdwan, a “Dokra” hook from Bankura, a pack of silk pocket squares from Malda and the famous “Chitpore Attar” (perfume) from Kalimpong.