National tourism award for Sikkim

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Gangtok, February 20: Adding another award to its tourism cap, Sikkim has been declared as 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 Shashi Tharoor presented the National Tourism Award 2012-13 to Sikkim Tourism minister Bhim Dhungel

Union Minister for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor presented the National Tourism Award 2012-13 to Sikkim Tourism minister Bhim Dhungel in a function in Union HRD minister Shashi Tharoor presenting the National Tourism Award 2012-13 to Sikkim tourism minister Bhim Dhungel in New Delhi on Feb. 18.

Tharoor said Sikkim is the perfect destination to experience warm hospitality, rich culture and scenic

splendor of natural beauty.

Speaking on the occasion, 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 in the State. He said the Chief Minister has also sanctioned Rs. 50 crore for setting up facilitation centres in Gangtok and various other important tourist destinations across the State.

“Altogether 20 facilitation centres will be set up in the State for strengthening tourism facilities,” Dhungel informed, adding “capacity building, training, marketing, manpower and human resources would be strengthened under these facilitation centres.”

He further said that the main facilitation centres would be set up in Gangtok with a total cost of Rs. 40 crores while the other facilitation centres at small towns and major tourist destinations would be constructed with a cost of Rs. 50 lakh on each facilitation centre. All the facilitation centres will start functioning by 2015, he informed.

So far 500 home stay units have been registered in the State providing direct employment to around 1,500 persons, he said, adding that the target has been fixed to double the home stay units and employment opportunities to 3,000 persons in the next five years.

Dhungel further said that the State government was also providing various incentives like electricity on domestic National tourism rates to home stay units to make them economically viable and create additional beds and modern facilities for the visiting tourists in rural areas.

Informing that 80,000 tourists annually visit rural tourist destinations in Sikkim, the minister said that target has been fixed to attract 1.50 lakh tourists in the next five years by creating additional infrastructural facilities.

To ensure maximum tourists flow, the tourism department, Dhungel said has also tied up with Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Karnataka tourism counterparts. The department is also negotiating with Nepal tourism and Bhutan tourism to ensure maximum international tourism flow from these areas to Sikkim, he further said.

Sikkim tourism secretary C. Zangpo, divisional engineer Sanjay Singh, assistant director Shova Lama, Tourism public relations department Binita Rai and Vijay Thapa were part of the official delegations who attended the function.


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