Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CM inaugurates SAATO convention on NE tourism promotion

NAMCHI, 13 Jan [IPR]: The 6th state-level Sikkim Association of Adventure Tour Operators Convention themed ‘Joining Hands Regionally and Promoting North East Tourism Globally’ was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling here at the Community Hall today. The convention, held with support from Tourism Department, hoteliers and transport operators of Sikkim, was attended by Speaker KN Rai, Cabinet Ministers, NEC Member MP Bezboruah, Regional Director Guwahati Sanjay Shrivat, Advisor NEC Gautam Chintey, Secretary Tourism C. Zangpo, officials from the central and the state government, tourism stakeholders from Germany, France, Nepal, Bhutan and North Eastern States.
In his address, the Chief Minister spoke about prioritizing the tourism industry and about the State Government’s aim to harness the natural resources on a sustainable basis and focus on being environment-friendly and organic.
He spoke about transforming Sikkim into a totally Organic State with a clear objective of achieving an economically and environmentally sustainable status. Updating the status of Sikkim Organic Mission, he informed that the process of Organic Certification was underway and that the mission will be accomplished by 2015. The Chief Minister highlighted the various achievements that the state has accomplished in the sectors of tourism, education, healthcare, increased forest cover, land use, urban forestry, eco-friendly standards, conservation of natural resources and overall peace and tranquility in the state.
The Chief Minister also detailed the various awards that the state has earned through green initiatives like Smriti Van program, Ten Minutes to Earth, Paryavaran Mahotsav in order to preserve the environmental sanctity and ecological balance.
On the field of tourism, the Chief Minister spoke about the tremendous headway that the state government has achieved to link religion, faith and way of living through culture and pilgrimage tourism by constructing Buddha Park in Ravangla, Sidheswara Dham, Samdruptse, Siddi Sai Baba Mandir in Namchi.
In the cultural tourism aspect he spoke about preservation and promotion of various cultures and establishment of institutions for learning and research of diverse cultures present in Sikkim.  Additionally, he announced that wayside amenities with facilities like rest rooms, canteens, road displays within a distance of 20 kms in all the areas of each district is being set up and will reach its completion by the end of the year.
Additionally, he spoke that in the field of education the State Government has immensely promoted and provided schemes which has been fruitful for the students particularly for economically backward students. Some of the schemes that the Chief Minister dwelled upon were free education for Sikkim students up till college level; CMMS; Chief Minister's Special Merit Scholarship; free education for transgender children up to college level and also monthly allowance of Rs 600. Moreover, he enlightened about the health care scheme available in the state such as CATCH; free Hepatitis B vaccination for children and free MMR vaccination. For economic sustainable the Chief Minister spoke about the schemes like poverty free state of India by 2018; housing for all programme; distribution of free of cost rice for BPL families. Notifying about the safeguarding of the diverse communities of Sikkim the Chief Minister appraised about the reservation provided to various communities, women and senior citizens of Sikkim.
Expressing his delight over the recognition of Sikkim by central government and other prestigious agencies globally in the field of tourism the Chief Minister assured to work for the further development of Khangdzonga National Park which was selected as the top 100 Green Destinations in the world by a network of agencies. He also spoke about the awards garnered by Sikkim such as Best Tourism Performing state in the North East for 9 consecutive years, Best Eco-Tourism Destination, Most picturesque Destination, best example of Community based tourism, Best Adventure tourism Destination, Most Responsible Tourism state, Most Innovative and Unique Tourism Project and National tourism Awards.
NEC Member Mr. M.P. Bezboruah also addressed the gathering and spoke about the regional, national and global scope of Sikkim and North East tourism. Sharing his experience in the area of tourism, he presented suggestions in the form of e-commerce and circuit development of various tourist destinations of Sikkim.
Mr. Bezboruah commended and lauded the efforts of the Chief Minister under whose leadership Sikkim has attained sustainable development on a war footing level. Thereby, based on the Chief Minister’s dedication and expertise he proposed Mr. Pawan Chamling to take on the leadership for Sikkim as well as the other North Eastern Indian states to craft a concrete action plan on enforcing and implementing of a tourism development plan for planning, coordinating, regulating the promotion of tourism industry worldwide. He further urged innovative practices of endorsing tourism through social media and various other platforms to the stakeholders for further achieving the objective of tourism for public welfare.
The program also saw a release of SAATO’s souvenir magazine through the Chief Minister. SAATO President Y. Dorjee and SSTDS president Gagan Rai presented a brief report of the activities conducted by SAATO and SSTDS so far. The program was also addressed by Secretary Mr. C. Zangpo and Mr. Hans Koehler. A variety of cultural extravaganza was also showcased by Guwahati Unit of Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Ministry of External Affairs and the local youths of Namchi.

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