Friday, November 02, 2007

Peak push to tourism in Sikkim

Gangtok, Nov. 1: Mountaineering is fast becoming the most popular form of adventure tourism in Sikkim and a British couple are keen to promote the state’s alpine peaks among foreign climbers.
Roger Pynne and his wife Julie Ann are familiar with the subject, having conquered Mt Thingchinkhang, a 6,010m peak in West Sikkim, in 2005. They have also scaled Choygal Peak (5,750m) and Brumkhangse (5,650m).
Following their trail, three more foreign expeditions have summitted Mt Thingchinkhang in the past couple of years, giving a boost to mountain tourism in Sikkim.
“We will return next season with foreign clients for climbing and trekking expeditions in North Sikkim,” said Pynne. The couple stopped over in Gangtok after a second successful expedition to Brumkhangse.
Pynne added that the Sikkim is ideal for mountain tourism with its abundance of virgin peaks, all above 5,500 metres.
“An alpine climbing zone can be easily set up in the North district with the help of local stakeholders like Sikkim Amateur Mountaineering Association and the state government,” he said.
The climber highlighted some of the advantages Sikkim has in this field. For example, transportation is easily available right up to the base camps of some peaks and, for foreign tourists, getting a permit is not as difficult as it is perceived.
“We are doing a lot of promotion of adventure tourism in Sikkim in the European and Japanese markets,” said Pynne.
The couple have also shared their ideas with the state tourism secretary, G.P. Upadhyaya.
The secretary promised that his department would extend all possible help to them in their project.