Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Gangtok, Sep30: A tentative blueprint has been charted by the Sikkim Tourism Department to have year-round activities for its most ambitious project, `2010 - Year of Tourism'.
Thirteen tourism festivals have been proposed from 2010 to February 2011. The State Government has already declared last year that the year 2010 will be celebrated as the `Year of Tourism' with an objective to reinforce the image of Sikkim as a premier tourism destination besides strengthening the village tourism in the State.
The Government is also seeking to have a 30 per cent increase in the tourism inflow during the `Year of Tourism 2010' celebrations. Around five lakh tourists have visited Sikkim in 2008-09.
With this objective in mind, the State tourism department is presently engaged in coining an appropriate slogan for the upcoming Year of Tourism, to be used as a brand name for the tourism campaign.
The advance action plans being mulled are finalising service providers for publicity, market and publishing publicity materials. Meetings and action plans with all the stakeholders such as Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS), Sikkim Association of Adventure Tour Operators (SAATO), Sikkim Hotel Restaurants Association, transport agencies and village tourism development committees will also be held.
The other plans are publishing Sikkim tourism bulletin, State tourism master plan along with Uttarey master plan, State tourism policy, garbage bags distribution and management besides management of Saramsa garden along with permanent traditional food stalls, handicraft stalls, flower stalls and cultural programmes.
Strengthening of accommodation, hotels, home stays and village tourism along with all tourism related services are included in the plan.
The State Government is keen to enforce discipline in overall tourism sector here during celebrations.
The draft plan has proposed that the year of tourism will kickstart from March-April with `Sikkim Discover Festival' followed by Rabong Discover tourism festival, Aritar tourism festival and Temi- Tarku Ram Navami festival.
The month of May will see the hosting of International Rhododendron Festival (IRF) 2010 at Shingba Lachung in North Sikkim and Varsey in West Sikkim.
The rhododendron festival has been proposed to be held from May 3 to 20. In this month, the Hee-Bermoik Cultural Heritage Festival in West Sikkim will also be held.
The `World Environment Day' which falls on June 5 will be celebrated in a grand manner. The rainy July will see plantation drives in all the tourist destinations of the State. Tourists will also be encouraged to plant saplings in the tourist destinations. Conferences, workshops, seminars and meetings will also be conducted.
A monsoon festival will be held on August 5 at Tharpu in West Sikkim.
In September, the department is proposing to have a two day `World Tourism Day' celebrations where eco-adventure, camping, village tourism and home stay activities will be organised.
The festival month of October will have two more festivals. The department has proposed to celebrate the Dusherra festival while Namchi Mahotsava in South Sikkim will also be conducted in this month.
November will have conferences, workshops, seminars and meetings on tourism related themes. Three tourism festivals have been included in December - Mangan Music Festival in North Sikkim, Khangchendzonga Festival at Pelling, West Sikkim and Gangtok Winter Festival.
The 2010 year will be signed off with a grand New Year celebration in January 2011 followed by Maghey Sankranti Mela at Jorethang in South Sikkim. A tourism festival at Yuksom in the West District is proposed inFebruary 2011 while a State flower show at White Hall complex in Gangtok has been proposed in March 2011, thereby, bringing down the curtains on the Year of Tourism