Union tourism minister G. Kishan Reddy on Sunday underscored the importance of Siliguri as the gateway to the Northeast and pointed out that the second meeting of the tourism working group (TWG) of G20 aimed to promote domestic tourism in mission mode.
Speaking on the second day of the three-day meet of the TWG of G20 here, Reddy said: “This city is a gateway to the Northeast and provides amazing travel experiences, ranging from various monasteries and temples to wildlife and natural beauty in the form of national parks and adventure tourism like camping and water rafting.”
He has also mentioned that across India, there are more than 200 Buddhist monasteries, 40 world heritage sites recognised by Unesco, including the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, over one 1 lakh state and national archaeological sites, and prayer centres of different religions.
“During the second meet, we are focusing on green tourism, digitalisation, skill development, growth of MSMEs in the tourism sector and destination management,” said Reddy.
On the second day of the meet, a car rally was flagged off from Mayfair Tea Resort which is on the northern outskirts of Siliguri. It was followed by multiple sessions where various presentations were made.
Among the countries which made presentations were Indonesia (on tourism MSMEs), Italy (on destination management), Turkey (on green tourism) and Saudi Arabia (on digitalisation).
Simultaneously, as a side event, sessions were held on adventure tourism, an area on which the tourism ministry is focusing these days.
Experts, along with delegates and officials, spoke on various issues ranging from the promotion of villages as adventure destinations, adventure safety and risk mitigation and the national strategy for adventure tourism.
“There were delegates from the northeastern states who made presentations to promote their states as tourist destinations. People from the tourism industry shared their feedback based on the presentations so that tourist inflow can be augmented in these states,” said a source.
A delegation of the Eastern Himalaya Travel & Tour Operators’ Association, a local body of tourism stakeholders, met the minister on Sunday.