Palaces turned into heritage hotels boosting tourism in Bengal

In recent times, the West Bengal Government has been turning many old palaces into heritage hotels. The palaces being located in picturesque spots is an added benefit.

The State Tourism Department has done commendable job in this respect. All the heritage hotels have a very high occupancy rate, especially during the weekends.

The heritage project at the Jhargram Palace, in Jhargram in Paschim medinipur district, that threw open its gates in November last year, has been a huge hit. The Rs 8-crore project has been 80% occupied ever since.

Several other palaces are being developed into heritage hotels for tourists. Mahishadal Rajbari in Purba Medinipur district is one of them. A tourism complex is being constructed on the 60 acres of the palace, at an investment of Rs 20 crore.

Similar development of the Chilkigarh Rajbari, 15 km from Jhargram, is in the pipeline too.

All the above are being developed by the State Tourism Department. The department is also promoting other such projects which are being developed by their owners.

The Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led government has been very active in promoting West Bengal as a tourists’ paradise. A new Tourism Incentive Policy – 2015 has been introduced, covering concepts like eco tourism, home tourism and tea tourism.

Work on iconic projects like Gajoldoba Mega Tourism Project, Jharkhali Eco Tourism Project and Sabujdweep Eco Tourism Project, in PPP mode, is on in full swing. Home tourism in the Ayodhya Hills region of Purulia distrcit and in other places has become very popular. The innovative Tea Tourism Policy has been framed in order to generate local employment and augment local income by using the lands of tea gardens where tea plantation is not possible.

A lot of tourist infrastructure has been created in North Bengal and in the Sundarbans under the Trinamool Congress Government.

The tourist potential of the grand festival of Durga Puja has been recognised for the first time by the present government and it is being promoted in a major way. The State Tourism Department has also been very active in participating in major tourism fairs and conclaves all over the world and in India too, to promote West Bengal as, as the marketing slogan of the department says, ‘the sweetest part of India.’


আকর্ষণীয় পর্যটন স্থান হিসেবে তৈরি হয়েছে বিভিন্ন হেরিটেজ হোটেল


ইতিমধ্যেই পশ্চিমবঙ্গ সরকার অনেক পুরনো জায়গায় বেশকিছু হেরিটেজ হোটেল তৈরি করেছে। জায়গাগুলি যেন ছবির মত সুন্দর করে সাজানো হয়েছে। এক্ষেত্রে রাজ্য পর্যটন দপ্তর যথেষ্ট প্রশংসনীয় কাজ করেছে। প্রত্যেকটি হোটেলেই সপ্তাহের শেষে যথেষ্ট লোক সমাগম হয়।

পশ্চিম মেদিনীপুরের ঝাড়গ্রাম জেলার ঝাড়গ্রাম রাজবাড়ির গেট খোলা হয়েছে গত বছর নভেম্বর মাসে। ৮ কোটি টাকার এই প্রকল্পের প্রায় ৮০% সম্পন্ন হয়ে গেছে।

পর্যটকদের জন্য আরও বেশ কিছু হেরিটেজ হোটেল তৈরি করা হয়েছে। এর মধ্যে আর একটি হল পূর্ব মেদিনীপুর জেলার মহিষাদল রাজবাড়ি। এটি তৈরি হয়েছে ৬০ একর জমির ওপর এবং এতে বরাদ্দ অর্থের পরিমাণ ২০ কোটি টাকা।

চিলকিগড় রাজবাড়িরও যথেষ্ট উন্নয়ন হয়েছে, সেখানে ঝাড়গ্রাম থেকে প্রায় ১৫ কিমি পাইপলাইন তৈরি হয়েছে।

সব কটি উন্নয়নই হয়েছে রাজ্য সরকারের উদ্যোগে। পর্যটন দপ্তর আরও বেশ কিছু উন্নয়নমূলক কাজ করার পরিকল্পনা নিয়েছে।

মাননীয়া মুখ্যমন্ত্রী শ্রীমতী মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়ের নেতৃত্বাধীন পশ্চিমবঙ্গ সরকার পর্যটন উন্নয়নে যথেষ্ট গুরুত্ব দিয়েছে। ২০১৫ সালে একটি নতুন ট্যুরিজম ইনসেনটিভ পলিসি তৈরি করা হয়েছে যার মধ্যে রয়েছে ইকো ট্যুরিজম, হোম ট্যুরিজম এবং টি ট্যুরিজম।

পিপিপি মডেলের গাজোলডোবা মেগা ট্যুরিজম, ঝড়খালি ইকো ট্যুরিজম, সবুজদ্বীপ ইকো ট্যুরিজম প্রজেক্ট গুলির কাজ পুরদমে চলছে। পুরুলিয়া জেলা ও অযোধ্যা পাহাড়ের বিভিন্ন পর্যটন স্থান গুলিও যথেষ্ট গুরুত্বপূর্ণ। তৃণমূল কংগ্রেস নেতৃত্বাধীন সরকার উত্তরবঙ্গে ও সুন্দরবনে অনেকগুলি পর্যটন পরিকাঠামো গঠন করেছে।



WB Govt focuses on ‘Home Stay Eco-Tourism’

In the wake of the new tourism development initiatives taken by the current State Government and a deluge of investment proposals, the Government is looking at ‘Home Stay Eco-Tourism” as the next big thing in this sector. Major proponents of this idea believe that this is set to attract a large number of tourists not just from the other Indian states but also from abroad. Decisions in this regard are set to be taken in the nascent Eco-Tourism Board headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee which is to meet for the first time on 8 July.

The Board is set to lay out the parameters for setting aside a room or two for tourists in the house apart from giving several tax benefits. The board will also work towards framing a dedicated and comprehensive Eco-Tourism policy. In the matter of protecting local ecology, the Board is set to move ahead taking cue from the Lamahata model. Task force for the development of models for riverine, coastal, wetlands, hills and heritage areas has been advised. In making the people of remote areas more independent, the State Government is set to provide a certain waiver in the electricity bills, service tax and sales tax, measures will be taken to develop the infrastructure of the areas in terms of drinking water, sanitation and power.

According to the estimates of the State Government, the new initiatives are set to generate employment for about 50,000 individuals primarily. When ‘Home Stay Eco-Tourism’ was introduced in Lamahata in August 2012 just a handful of families took it up, today about 50 homes offer such facility.

Following the major success in Darjeeling’s Lamahata, Eco-Tourism has major scope in Tinchullah, Kurseong and Kalimpong in the Hills. Even though these areas have a picturesque natural beauty there is a lack of hotel and lodging facilities, to harness the potential of these areas, the State is keen to introduce the concept of ‘Home Stay’. The board which is formed in the vision of the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee includes 13 government officials and 2 experts. Vice-chairman of the committee is the Chief Secretary. West Bengal is the only state where such a board has legal approval.

The homes will provide for the staying facilities of the tourist. To ensure that the facilities are up to the mark we will take stock of the facilities that are there such as constant drinking water provision, the condition of the bathrooms and kitchens, etc. These days the tourists want to have the local cuisine and may even want to learn how to make it. All these factors will be taken into consideration while framing the Eco-Tourism policy.

Tourism Minister promotes Bengal at Travel India 2014

An eco-tourism board would be set up to promote state eco-tourism, said Bratya Basu, the state tourism minister on Friday at the opening of the Travel India 2014, a seminar and exhibition travel and tourism. The two-day Travel India 2014 was organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking on the occasion, Bratya Basu said, “West Bengal is unique in terms of tourism. It has all the indicatives. We have Himalayan mountain range in the north, Bay of Bengal and forests to provide tourists a wide array of choices.”

He also mentioned that state is also promoting various types of tourism like heritage tourism, tea tourism, medical tourism, wellness tourism and the like.

“Tourism products from the state are well-accepted by the foreign tourists and companies alike. Wildlife products, biosphere reserves, Sagar Island, Terai region are being aggressively promoted,” said the state tourism minister.

State will promote Bolpur, Bakreswar, Phulia, Plassey circuit, added the minister. Jhargram, as mentioned by the minister, constitutes a component of heritage tourism.