The West Bengal government has formed seven panels, headed by experts in the hospitality sector, to chart a road map for tourism development in the state — from the hills to the seas — minister Babul Supriyo said. Supriyo, during a programme of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Eastern India here, also said that one of the panels will soon come up with ways Durga puja can be showcased everywhere, a festival that is “no less spectacular and inclusive than the carnival in Rio”.
“We will initiate projects involving both public and private sectors to make Bengal, which is blessed with hills, seas and jungles, a one-stop destination for tourists. We will also meticulously plan tourism circuits along rivers,” Supriyo stated on Tuesday.
The panels, after a series of brainstorming sessions, will share their plans and ideas by end-September, the state tourism minister said. “A ten-day package to explore the Durga puja festival, its different sides, will be made available to the visitors. We are also weighting the option of starting a 15-day Gangasagar package, as part of which tourists can board a cruise from Babughat, touch different ghats, and reach Sagar Islands.
“A trip to Sunderbans will also be added to package,” he said. The minister claimed that Bengal is “fifth in the country with regard to flow of domestic tourists and seventh in terms of international tourist footfall”. “We are committed to improving the ranks and achieving top berths,” he asserted Asked about the possibility of streamlining the licensing and registration process for businessmen willing to set up a venture in the state, especially in the hospitality sector, Supriyo said, “We are taking necessary steps to make the procedure as lucid as possible.”