Sikkim wins National Tourism Award
Dimapur, February 18
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ikkim has been declared the best state in the country in implementation of Rural Tourism Projects by Ministry of Tourism, government of India.
Union Minister for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor presented the National Tourism Award 2012-13 to Sikkim Tourism Minister Bhim Dhungel at a function in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi today.
According to Union Tourism Ministry, Sikkim is the perfect destination to experience warm hospitality, rich culture and scenic splendour of natural beauty in the country.Sikkim Tourism Minister Bhim Dhungel said 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 in the state.
He also said Chamling has sanctioned Rs 50 crore for setting up facilitation centres at state capital Gangtok and various other important tourist destinations of the state.
A total 20 facilitation centres will be set up in the state for strengthening tourism facilities , he informed and added that capacity building, training , marketing, manpower and human resources will be strengthened under these facilitation centres.
Dhungel said the main facilitation centre will be set up in the state capital Gangtok with a total cost of Rs 40 crore while the other facilitation centres will be constructed in small towns and major tourist destinations at a cost of Rs 50 lakh each. He further said all the facilitation centres will start functioning by the year 2015.
At present, around 80,000 tourists visit rural tourists destinations in the state annually while the target is to attract 1.50 lakh tourists to rural tourist destinations in next five years by creating additional infrastructural facilities in the state, Dhungel said.
He said so far 500 home stay units have been registered in the state, providing direct employment to around 1500 persons. The state government plans to double the home stay units and employment opportunities to 3000 persons in the next five years.
He stated that the state government is providing various incentives like electricity on domestic rates to these home stay units to make them economically viable and enable them to offer modern facilities to the visiting tourists in rural areas.
Informing that the state Tourism department has tied up with Kerala, Maharastra, Gujrat, Goa and Karnataka tourism departments for ensuring maximum tourist flow from these states to Sikkim, Dhungel said the state Tourism department is also negotiating with Nepal tourism and Bhutan tourism to ensure maximum international tourists flow from these areas to the state.