Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sikkim is best in India in implementation of rural tourism projects

fotoCaption: Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, presenting  the National   Tourism Award 2012-13 to Sikkim tourism minister Bhim Dhungel at a function in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, today

New Delhi, 18 Feb [IPR]: Sikkim has been declared as the best state in the country in implementation of Rural Tourism Projects by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr. Shashi Tharoor presented the National Tourism Award 2012-13 to Sikkim’s Tourism Minister, Bhim Dhungel in a function held at Vigyan Bhawan New Delhi today
According to the Union Tourism Ministry, Sikkim is the perfect destination to experience warm hospitality, rich culture and scenic splendour of natural beauty.
State Tourism Minister, Bhim Dhungel said that Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has launched an ambitious Rs 140 crore project for developing various tourism convenience facilities, view-points, halting points, conferences, retiring units and other infrastructural facilities projects in the state.
He said that Mr Chamling  has sanctioned Rs 50 crore for setting up facilitation centres at the state capital Gangtok and various other important  tourist destinations of the state. Twenty facilitation  centres will be set up in the state for strengthening  tourism facilities, said Mr Dhungel further adding that capacity building, training, marketing, manpower and human resources will be strengthened under these facilitation centres.
The main facilitation centre will be set up at Gangtok at total cost of Rs 40 crore while the other facilitation centres at small towns and major tourist destinations will be constructed at a cost of Rs 50 lakh on each facilitation centre. All the facilitation centres will start functioning by the year 2015, he added.
“At present around 80,000 tourists visit rural tourist destinations in the state annually and target has been fixed to attract 1.50 lakh tourists to rural tourist destinations in the next five years by creating additional infrastructural facilities in the state”, said Mr Dhungel.
The Minister further informed that so far 500 home-stay units have been registered in the state which are providing direct employment to around 1500 persons and added that target has been fixed to double the home-stay units and employment opportunities to 3000 persons in the next five years.
The state government is providing various incentives like electricity on domestic rates to these home-stay units to make them economically viable and create additional beds and modern facilities for the visiting tourists in rural areas, he added. 
The state Tourism department has tied up with Kerala, Maharastra, Gujarat, Goa and Karnataka Tourism for ensuring maximum tourist flow from these states to Sikkim, said the Minister and added that the state Tourism department is also negotiating with Nepal Tourism and Bhutan Tourism to ensure maximum international tourism flow from these areas to Sikkim.

Sikkim Tourism Secretary, C Zangpo, DE(P) Sanjay Singh, AD Shova Lama, PRO Tourism Binita Rai and Vijay Thapa were part of the official delegation from Sikkim who attended the function.

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