TOURISM: Tour agents plan to make monsoon a visit season – cheaper the better, commissions made, problems the adventure ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, July 14: Stakeholders of the tourism industry have decided to initiate a host of activities to promote north Bengal and Sikkim as idyllic destinations during the monsoon.
“Although north Bengal, Sikkim and the Northeast have some favourite hotspots for domestic as well as international tourists, the peak tourism period here does not exceed 100 days a year. So, we have felt the need to increase the inflow of visitors and to stretch the season,” said Raj Basu, the president of the Eastern Himalayan Travel and Tour Operators’ Association.
“If something new and unique is offered during the monsoon to attract more people, it will help the industry — right from a porter to a tour operator — earn more. Our plan is to launch a concerted promotional campaign focussing on the monsoon and to obliterate the concept of ‘off season’ as it is known…States like Goa and Kerala have already succeeded in wooing tourists during the rains,” added Basu.
The decision to spearhead the campaign was taken at a meeting of the association here yesterday.
Tour agents said there had been a considerable footfall of tourists in the Dooars and Sikkim this monsoon despite the fact that wildlife sanctuaries and national parks were lshut.
“Many tourists are visiting the hills too during the monsoon months, braving landslides and other inconveniences. So, we thought of approaching the government and other tourism stakeholders to ask them to portray the monsoon as a unique season to visit the region,” said a tour operator.
The association will write to the state government for proper maintenance of roads in the hills.
“All tourism stakeholders in the eastern Himalayas, including the north-eastern states, will be requested to participate in this initiative and to promote ‘east Himalaya monsoon’ by introducing special circuits during the rains. Other associations in the travel industry will also be asked to join us,” said Basu.
During the monsoon, tourists will be offered discounts in hotels, special cuisine and round-the-clock helpline to be run by the tour operators.
On the promotional side, the tour operators are planning to send bulk test messages across India and abroad. Further, they will participate in the Travel and Tourism Fair held in Calcutta every year and invite representatives from Goa and Kerala to make presentations on the monsoon tourism in the two states.
“We will include representatives of the tourism industry from states like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura and countries like Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh in the initiative,” said Basu.
“Exhibitions will be held and public domains like websites will be used to promote the monsoon tourism, which if turns out to be a success, will help improve the economic conditions of people working in the tourism sector,” added Basu.
• Discounted rates in hotels and tour packages
• Special monsoon recipes
• New destinations
• 24 X 7 monsoon help desk