June 7, 2009


WBTDC to upgrade lodges in West Bengal
KOLKATA, 4th June: The first official travel guide on Kolkata was released yesterday by Manab Mukherjee, Tourism Minister, Kolkata. The book provides exhaustive information on most tourist destinations with their history, from Sunderbans to Bishnupur, Murshidabad, Dooars and Darjeeling. Mukherjee also informed that the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC) is now in the process of upgrading tourist lodges and renovating its water vessels. Nine lodges are being upgraded to three-star standards. Work is complete at Digha, Shantiniketan and Bishnupur.
According to a report in Times of India, WBTDC has also decided to introduce integrated package tours in the next three months.“So far, we did not have a travel guide. Let us hope this turns out to be the first step towards restructuring our tourism facilities and infrastructure,” said Mukherjee. Apart from listing destinations, the travel guide also mentions the routes and transportation available. “I had to travel extensively for the book. The facilities have improved vastly and the state can definitely be marketed as a prime tourist location,” said Swati Mitra, who compiled the guide. WBTDC has also planned tourism plazas that will be developed by the government. “Despite the recession, the flow of tourists to Bengal has remained largely unaffected,” added Mukherjee. The tourism department will appoint consultants to promote West Bengal.

Tourism not affected by ‘Aila’

“Tourism in West Bengal has not really been affected by Aila,” State Tourism Minister Manabendra Mukherjee said here on Wednesday.

He said this at an event organised to update the press on the latest initiatives of the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC). Mr. Mukherjee said there weren’t many tourists in the area since this is not the season in Sunderbans, the region worst affected by the cyclone.

Sajnekhali, the only government tourist lodge in the area, did sustain some damage but plans were on to renovate the lodge in any case, he said.

“In Darjeeling, there were many tourists, but the major link roads had been cleared of the debris within 48 hours of the landslides so tourists didn’t suffer much.”

Asked whether enough was being done to promote Sunderbans, he said the region was ecologically fragile and must be approached with precaution.

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