The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has taken a number of initiatives to promote several destinations in the eastern region of the Himalayan country in the Indian states of Bengal and Assam to augment the footfall of visitors across the border.
Officials of the NTB, who were here last week during a campaign that it had initiated with stakeholders of the tourism industry in Nepal, north Bengal and the Northeast, said the proximity of those destinations had prompted them to launch the drive to get more visitors from this region.
“A number of tourist destinations in eastern Nepal are just a few hours’ drive from the India-Nepal border. In recent years, several tourism facilities have come up. As Bengal and Assam are located close to this region, we have launched the drive to get more and more Indian tourists from these states to our country,” said Surya Thapalia, the manager of the NTB.
For the campaign, the board has joined hands with the Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) and the Eastern Himalaya Travel & Tour Operators Association (EHTTOA).
Thapalia said destinations like Kanyam, a tiny hill station in eastern Nepal, is a two-hour journey from Panitanki, the hamlet in Darjeeling district on the India-Nepal border.
Also, the famous Pathibhara Temple, which hundreds of pilgrims from India visit every year, is hardly 45km from Panitanki.
“Bhedetar, another hill station in the Dharan district of Nepal, is famous for its landscape and scenic beauties. It is near the international border. These are the areas where tourists from Bengal and Assam can visit, along with traditional destinations like Kathmandu and Pokhara,” said a source.
The representatives of the NTB said many hotels and homestay accommodations had come up in eastern Nepal in the past couple of years.
“Also, adventure sports activities and casinos have been introduced, which make the region more attractive for tourists of different age groups,” said a tourism stakeholder.
As a part of the drive, the NTB, along with the associations, are planning promotional events in Siliguri, Guwahati and Shillong.
Sandipan Ghosh, general secretary of EHTTOA, appreciated the initiative.
“It is good that new destinations in eastern Nepal are being showcased in north Bengal and Assam. A section of tourists often scouts for newer places and these locations can be ideal for them. The drive can help in promoting cross-border tourism and we can send tourists to these places,” he said.