Saturday, November 8, 2014

Winter’s here, and so is a Carnival - REBYNA RANA

There is a nip or maybe more in the air, the woolies and the cherry blossoms are back and so is the time for the annual Winter Carnival. The festival attracts tourists from all over the country to Sikkim while also bringing the local community together.
The Tourism and Civil Aviation Department is all set to hold the Winter Carnival 2014, slated to be held from 14-19 December here in the capital. This will be the second time that the Carnival is going to be held in the state. From adventure sports that include mountain biking and paragliding to showcasing traditional culture and cuisines, photo exhibition etc. the event will also feature singers and musicians from Kathmandu, including local bands entertaining the crowds.
While speaking to NOW!, the Tourism Secretary, C. Zangpo, said that the main purpose of the carnival is to boost tourist footfall in Sikkim during winters, a time that traditionally sees a decline in the number of visitors. The event also seeks to provide opportunities for the local people to generate income, he added.
As for promotion, an official from the Tourism Department informs that the department will be holding a press meet in Kolkata to publicize the event since the state receives a large number of tourists from West Bengal. Banners at Bagdogra and Rangpo will also be put up to inform visitors about the Winter Carnival, he added.
MD cum Owner, Sikkim Tours and Travels, Lukendra Rasaily, who is also former president for TAAS, says that the trend is positive and in another 7-10 years the number of visitors in autumn and winter is expected to go up. However, Mr Rasaily points out that the department should try and get some inputs and advice from tourism experts when organising such events.
“Every time such events are organised haphazardly and preparations are done in a short period of time. Most of the time we hear that the department does not have money for wider publicity of such events. I have been hearing this for the last 25 years,” he says.
He adds that there is no proper coordination with the media either so there is not enough awareness or publicity of such events. With the help of tourism stakeholders, media persons, IT experts and other agencies, a proper promotional and publicity campaign is possible and would be very effective in making such events successful, he adds.

Mr. Rasaily further stressed the need for advance publicity of any event where he expressed dissatisfaction over the fact that there is no fixed calendar of events in Sikkim.

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