KOLKATA, 4 Jan, 2009: The sixth Tourism and Food Festival is all set to start on January 7 at the Nalban Ecopark in Salt Lake. The West Bengal tourism department, in association with The Times of India, will present the gala five-day festival. This year, the festival has got an international flavour with the participation of Kunming Tourism of China. The states taking part in the festival include Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka and Rajasthan as well as several north-eastern states, which will seek to popularize their state as attractive tourist destinations.
At Nalban, a food plaza, extending to the waterbody, will provide the ambience and matching delicacies in the form of a food festival. A stage will be set up on the lake to enthral the people with traditional dance, music and cultural programmes by eminent artistes. The primary attraction will be a colourful ballet by a Chinese troupe from Kunming. Among the other attractions are a group dance by Priti Patel and Tanushree Shankar, songs by Anwesha and the Vyas Brothers.
The Times of India will present a gala musical evening with latest singing sensation, Anik Dhar, on January 10. There will also be performances by army and BSF bands, a fashion show and cultural programme as well as tribal dances from Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan to enthral the audience. The director of West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation, TVN Rao, said: "Our main attempt is to bring all the tourism industry stakeholders and the public on one platform. This year, there will be 57 stalls. Visitors will be able to know the nitty-gritty of a destination and plan a trip at the fair itself."
Tourism minister Manab Mukherjee said next year, more countries will be invited to participate in the festival. Several restaurant chains, including Tamarind, Bhajahori Manna and Golbari (Shyambazar), will dish out lip-smacking cuisines at the festival. Fireworks will be an added attraction. The fair will begin from 12 noon and continue till 9 pm. Tickets are priced at Rs 5.