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25 countries to participate in Destination East

Kolkata, Jan 27 : The Confederation of Indian Industry on Tuesday said ‘fairly large’ contingents from the UK, Australia, Thailand and Sri Lanka will gather at the two-day tourism meet Destination East from Feb 6 at Town Hall in Kolkata.

This was disclosed during a Press Meet organized ahead of what has come to be touted as the second largest buyer-seller tourism meet after Kerala Mart.

These four countries are among a total of 25, including the US, China, France Germany, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden, Japan and Bangladesh from which tourism stakeholders will interact with their counterparts in the eastern region.

“This is a forum where we wish to share with the global delegates our incentive schemes for any investor keen to put money in tourism projects in the State, according to A R Bardhan, Principal Secretary to West Bengal’s Tourism Department.

In his view, Destination East is a very important vehicle for attracting investments in resorts, cruises, ropeways, etc. “We will offer cash-based incentives on projects,” said Bardhan.

Bardhan also disclosed that the state government will build motel-cum-wayside facilities every 30 km along the routes to major tourism destinations, including the Sunderbans and Digha.

“This will be a reality in six months’ time,” he said.

“A global consultant called HVS has been hired to help prepare a comprehensive Vision Document for West Bengal. HVS has provided consulting services and solutions to more than 60 countries for hotels, shared ownership and leisure assets. The 10-year Vision Document seeks to double the growth of 5% in inward tourist flow from both domestic market and international countries,” he said.

Efforts are on to showcase Kolkata as the “Cultural capital” and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibition) destination, he added.

Bardhan revealed the state’s plans to go on a major brand-building exercise.
“O&M, has been hired to do the job. Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is likely to feature in the forthcoming new tourism television campaign for West Bengal, he said, adding that the new TVC will be ready in three months,” said an official statement.

“One of our objectives is also to enable one to drive to Sunderbans within 2 hours from Kolkata at a speed of 80 kmph. Considerable money and energy is being devoted to improving roads,” said Vijay Dewan, Mr Vijay Dewan, Chairman, Tourism Sub-Committee, CII Eastern Region, and Managing Director, Apeejay Surendra Park Hotels Ltd.

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