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West Bengal government & FAITH hold tourism strategy meet, sub-groups for niche tourism sectors to be created, ET TravelWorld News, ET TravelWorld

West Bengal government & FAITH hold tourism strategy meet, sub-groups for niche tourism sectors to be created
The Department of Tourism, Government of West Bengal, and Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) held a day-long workshop in Kolkata on the development of a tourism strategic roadmap for West Bengal. The objective of the meeting was to formulate a tourism development strategy aiming at the creation of livelihood and job opportunities.

During the workshop, a decision was taken to constitute sub-groups for more focused attention on niche tourism sectors including heritage tourism, rural tourism, film tourism, adventure tourism, eco-tourism, river tourism, and MICE tourism.

The evolving strategy shall be expected to focus on skilling, re-skilling, and upskilling different professionals and stakeholders engaged in the travel and tourism industry with a view to unlocking the huge employment opportunities, while also ensuring seamless delivery of services for all the sectoral stakeholders and end-beneficiaries, i.e., tourists intending to visit West Bengal from different parts of the country.

The state’s interest in heritage properties has enthused private promoters in the travel and tourism sector.“Bengal has everything — from the Himalayas to the mangroves of the Sunderbans, dense forests and beaches in East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas. Closer to Kolkata, Itachuna and Bawali Rajbari in Hooghly and South 24 Parganas have been converted into heritage hotels. While the former has already been featured in a number of popular Hindi and Bengali movies, the latter, just 40km from the city, underwent large-scale restoration recently and has emerged a popular weekend destination.

The day-long workshop, the first in a series in pursuance of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) signed between the FAITH and the Government of West Bengal in April 2022, held discussions on multiple issues relating to the strategic roadmap for tourism development for the state of West Bengal.

There was a consensus to evaluate in detail many of the issues concerning tourism, travel, and the hospitality industry including policy for heritage tourism, direct and last-mile connectivity for tourist destinations, strengthening single-window clearance mechanism for tourism, seamless tourist transportation, adventure, and eco-tourism policy, prioritisation of top 10 tourism products & segments, marketing & awareness campaign, development of district-wise tourism inventory and tourism calendars.

The workshop discussed ways to evolve an eclectic and holistic tourism strategy for tapping the immense tourism potential of the state, connecting tourism with the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the state thereby promoting and protecting folk art, craft, and folk genres.

Detailed ideation on various matters was subsequently undertaken with officials of the Department of Tourism led by the state’s Tourism Secretary, Saumitra Mohan. A milestone and timeline-based implementation roadmap will be put in place by the joint task force for subsequent consideration by the Government of West Bengal.

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