Durga Puja boosts tourism
West Bengal has geared up to attract the inbound market and domestic tourists. This was witnessed during the recently concluded Durga Puja in October, where the state promoted itself to the inbound and domestic segment.
MEGHA PAUL According
to Rachhpal Singh, Tourism Minister, West Bengal, the State had earlier hosted roadshows in Bengaluru and Mumbai besides organising campaigns in the US and Canada. Efforts have been on to woo tourists from Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and from the neighbouring countries with the help of various central and foreign agencies. “Though profit making is not the target of the state government, more tourists will open up sources of income, for many people here,” Singh added. In order to showcase Durga Puja, the West Bengal Tourism Department had recruited tourist police on a temporary basis to guide visitors.
All these efforts also led to a spurt in the bookings of the inbound tour operators. Says Sham Lal Soni, Chairman, West Bengal the Ganges and river cruise connecting Belur Math, exceedingly well during the period. Talking about the increase in the number of bookings for the Durga Puja period, Rodney Kaypee, General Manager, Hotel Hindusthan International, Kolkata reveals, “This year, we saw an increase of 40 per cent over last year in terms of hotel stays. One of the factors was the long Durga Puja holidays encompassing two weekends. The overall increase in occupancy during the Puja days was nearly 12 per cent.” According to Kaypee, the business during the Durga Puja was largely domestic FITs coming in from satellite towns.