Gangtok, 29 Jan (PIB)
Union Minister of State [I/C] for Tourism, KJ Alphons will be inaugurating the project “Development of North East Circuit: Rangpo– Rorathang- Aritar- Phadamchen- Gnathang-Sherathang- Tsongmo- Gangtok-Phodong- Mangan- Lachung-Yumthang- Lachen- Thangu-Gurudongmer- Mangan- Gangtok-Tumin Lingee- Singtam” implemented under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in the presence of Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Government of Sikkim, Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia here at Zero Point on Wednesday.
A PIB press release mentioned that development of Tourism in North Eastern Region was the prime area of focus for the Ministry of Tourism. “The Ministry has taken several initiatives for growth of domestic and international tourism in the region. One of the many challenges region faces in development of tourism is the absence of quality infrastructure, services and awareness about the array of tourism products region has to offer,” it is added.
The release stated that the Ministry was carrying out number of activities to handle the issues on above fronts and on one hand the Ministry has given great impetus to the tourism infrastructure in the region under its flagship schemes of SwadeshDarshan and PRASHAD. It is informed that for development of Tourism infrastructure, the Ministry has sanctioned 16 projects for Rs. 1349.04 crores covering all North Eastern States under its schemes of SwadeshDarshan and PRASHAD. “The Ministry is actively working with other Central Ministries like Mo/Culture, M/o DONER, M/o Road Transport and Highways, M /o Civil Aviation etc. for development of Tourism in the region,” it is added.
Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of Ministry of Tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner. Under this scheme the Government is focussing on development of quality infrastructure in the country with objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors on one hand and on other hand fostering the economic growth. The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 77 projects worth projects for Rs. 6121.69 Crore to 30 States and UTs. 30 projects/major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year. Eleven projects have been inaugurated as on date under the scheme.
The release informed that the project being inaugurated on tomorrow, “Development of North East Circuit: Rangpo– Rorathang- Aritar- Phadamchen- Nathang-Sherathang- Tsongmo- Gangtok-Phodong- Mangan- Lachung-Yumthang- Lachen- Thangu-Gurudongmer- Mangan- Gangtok-Tuminlingee- Singtam” was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in June 2015 for Rs. 98.05 Crores. Under the project the Ministry has developed tourism infrastructure facilities like Tourist Information Centre, Meditation Centre, Organic Eco Tourism centre, Log Huts, Zip Line, Flower Exhibition Centre, Walkways, Souvenir Shops, Cafeteria, Rain Shelters, Wayside Amenity, Last Mile Connectivity, Parking, Public Toilets etc, it is informed.
In addition to above, the Ministry has sanctioned one more project in Sikkim, “Development of North East Circuit: Singtam– Maka- Temi-Bermoik Tokel- Phongia- Namchi –Jorthang- Okharey- Sombaria-Daramdin- Jorethang- Melli” in September 2016 for Rs.95.32 crores. The work under the project is in progress.
For promotion of North East region Ministry carries out special promotion in domestic and international markets highlighting regions diversity, tourism products and its rich culture. The Ministry of Tourism has also set up Hotel Managements and Food Craft Institutes for creating skilled manpower in tourism and hospitality sector in the North Eastern Region.
The efforts of Ministry have shown positive results and the foreign tourist arrivals in the region have shown an upward trend over the years. The region received a total of 1.69 lakh foreign tourist visits during 2017 as against 1.45 lakh in 2016 registering a growth of 16.7% over 2016. The Domestic Tourist Visits reached to 95.47 lakhs in the year 2017 against 77.71 lakhs registering impressive double digit growth of 22.8% over 2016. The increased number of tourists in turn has created better employment opportunity for the local population in the region.