West Bengal Tourism is now focused to reveal the untapped tourism potential of the state to the travel and tourism market. The state recently hosted the 35th Annual Convention of the Indian Association of Tour operators (IATO) in Kolkata. The city has changed remarkably in the last 10 years and we want to showcase the new face of Kolkata as a hub city and the tourism potential of the state to the India travel trade, Atri Bhattacharya, Principal Secretary (Tourism), Government of West Bengal said on the sideline of the IATO luncheon meeting in New Delhi last month.
Talking to media about the tourism potential of the state, Bhattacharya said that the state offers number of tourism circuits. “We are now going to aggressively promote heritage tourism with private parties because I believe that the Government should not extend its involvement in investment in business of tourism. There is a very nice circuit in the south western part of the state where one can have wilderness and adventure tourism with rivers, mountains and forests. We also have a great circuit in Dooars. We also have opportunities for business and recreational trips in the entire stretch from Kolkata to Durgapur to Asansol,” he said and announced that the State Tourism Department is planning to have a new slogan: “Ocean to the Sky”. “We may not necessarily change our tagline but we want to promote the diversity of the state,” he said
Replying to a question over promoting cultural tourism, Bhattacharya said the state has planned a series of festivals. “We have Durga Puja in October, followed by Kali Puja. Then, we have Kolkata International Film Festival in November which is growing in scale. In December, we will have Christmas Carnival in Kolkata. In January, we have Sangeet Mela,” he said and informed that the state is looking to organize River Festival in January. “We have signed a MoU with British Council and British Government for doing a River Festival in January. We would like to do it not only in Kolkata but at other two venues as well,” he revealed. Apart from these, the state tourism department is also focused on promoting the state’s cuisines in a big way, he said.
Talking about cruise tourism, he said that cruise tourism is growing from the last 5-6 years. “We have 4 vessels and we are taking two more. We have two houseboat type vessels which can be used for meetings and we are getting two more to put up in other water bodies like Muktmanipur and Chandan Nagar,” he informed.