4th International Tourism Mart inaugurated in Gangtok, Sikkim
OREANDA-NEWS. October 16, 2015. The
4th International Tourism Mart (ITM) was inaugurated by the Minister
of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and
Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, along with the Chief Minister of Sikkim,
Shri Pawan Chamling in Gangtok, Sikkim today. The ITM has been organized by the
Union Ministry of Tourism in association with the North Eastern States and the
state of West Bengal.
the Mart, the Union Tourism Minister, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that the ITM helps
to showcase to the world the rich and untapped potential of the North East
States. Dr Sharma said that the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has a great
vision to develop the North East which has a very high tourism potential in the
country. Promoting tourism in these states will be one of the prime focus areas
of the Ministry of Tourism, the Minister added. Dr Mahesh Sharma said that
improving connectivity is the key to promoting tourism in the North East. The
Minister informed that Sikkim will have its own airport in Pakyong, 35 Km away
from Gangtok by December 2016. Centre will work to create better road
connectivity for the public through National Highways for the North East. He
assured that he will discuss the matter of road connectivity with the concerned
Mahesh Sharma appreciated the fact that Sikkim is soon going to become the first
100% organic state in the country. The Prime Minister will declare Sikkim as a
full organic state on his visit to the state next year in January 2016, he
said. Dr Mahesh Sharma praised the cleanliness and‘no smoking drive’ of the
Sikkim Government and said that the state has all the potential to become an
ideal tourist state.
the importance of tourism for a country, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said tourism is an
economic engine for the country’s growth and development. Tourism can
contribute 8-9% to the GDP if we achieve 1% share of International tourist
arrivals around the World. At present India’s share in International tourist
arrivals around the World is 0.68%. Tourism helps to generate employment and women
empowerment, he added. Dr Mahesh Sharma also said that the facility of e-Visa
have been extended to 113 countries and the Government will extend it to 150
countries by March Next year.
Shri Pawan Chamling, delivering the
keynote address, highlighted the initiatives taken by theGovernment of Sikkim
to make the State a most preferred tourism destination in the region. Shri
Chamling said that we have created a comprehensive action plan to develop
tourism in order to showcase and share the cultural and natural heritage of
Sikkim with the world. Village Tourism and Home Stays have a tremendous
potential in Sikkim as the villages are well developed and well connected. A
Village Development Action Plan has been prepared for the purpose, he
Secretary, Tourism, Shri Vinod Zutshi
said that the Government is developing North East region in terms of all
aspects–tourism, education, health, transport networks, telecommunications,
information technology, electricity grids, flow of investment and trade and
everything else that is needed to harness its economic and commercial potential
and raise the standards of living of our people in this region.
This 4th International Tourism
Mart 2015, spread over three days is seeing participation of fifty two (52) international
delegates comprising of tour operators and media persons from 23 countries.
These delegates are from Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia,
France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway,
Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, UK, USA and
Vietnam. This mart also has participation of 71 tour operators from eight north
eastern States and West Bengal besides domestic buyers (tour operators) from
different regions of the country.
The State Tourism Departments of eight north eastern states and West Bengal have put up colourful exhibitions at the mart venue which were earlier inaugurated by the Union Tourism Minister and the Chief Minister of Sikkim. These States are also highlighting their rich and varied culture and distinct cuisines.