Members of Hill Tourism Development Association Kurseong, meet Mr. Sonam Bhutia, The Executive Director, Tourism, GTA, today at his office at Lalkhoti.
Mr. Sonam Bhutia, gave a very positive response on the issue. He said that he has a vision of making Kurseong as next destination of the millennium. He elaborated on the development works of tourism going at Kurseong and surroundings, the widening and reparing of old military road, with cycling trails in these areas. Beautification of Eagle’s Craig, Giddha Pahar, Rohini and many other places of Kurseong areas’. He said that Ropeway (cable car) is on the go, which definitely will boost tourism in Kurseong. Signage, a map of Kurseong has been finalised.
The members of HTDAK also submitted ten page memorandum on future tourism development plans of Kurseong and its surrounding. The association is mostly into development of Kurseong in tourism sector, taking along all stakeholders like, hoteliers, driver associations, NGOs, and many other organisations.
The association emphasised on a Tourist Information Centre, at Kurseong Railway station platform,urgently needed and could add more pleasant aroma to the land of orchids. Tourists stopping here lack information about Kurseong. TIC along with brochures can help promote Kurseong.
As Kurseong doesn’t have any entertainment activities or jogging path the association suggested that “A Jogger’s Paradise” on the new road at Naya Bazar, can be converted into Jogger’s Paradsie, as this area is free from traffic and pollution, Toilet, Cafeteria, Garden, Sitting benches with shed at Baluwatar and approach paths can be constructed and maintained along the roadside with hanging and bench press at roadside for joggers.
DHR is another attraction in the hills, so the association put forward a proposal that the train track can be restored from Kurseong to Tindharia and Joy ride from Kurseong to Mahandi to start soon, as the view is more spectacular and other tracks. The Director assured that he will look into this matter.
Eco-Tree Park, A very new concept the can be promoted in Dilaram area as there are ample of forests and open space was also discussed. They are an ideal combination of fun and education, but the education is not forced. It comes from exploring the forest at a new level, being exposed to the interaction of the flora and fauna in a given environment, observing species nesting in the trees or on the ground, discovering lakes and rivers from above, The opportunities are endless. The trends for eco-tourism and increased physical activity are rapidly growing, and are at the forefront of the tourism industry. A return to nature is an instinctive need in our modern world, and Treetop Adventure Concept is perfectly poised to feed this new market.
As Kurseong is sandwiched between tea gardens and the forest, what ever small portion of land available belongs to the DHR, leaving very less option for social and economical development. It was mentioned that it was necessary to look beyond urban area for new openings into rural areas, Eco-Tourism is one of the key ingredients to boost economical status and generate self employment. The association and even Mr. Bhutia agreed more priority should be given to home stays as it has become one of the best chosen accommodation by tourists nowadays. Opening of home stays in different village around Kurseong like, Dilaram, Mamring, Bagmara, Shivkhola will definitely uplift the socioeconomic of the local people.
Certain infrastructures can be developed and leased out to village development communities with financial assistance provided through Govt. schemes, Public Private Partnership, NGO’s and Nationalized Banks. Advertisement is very much essential for promotion of Eco-tourism, The Dept. of Tourism can extend cooperation and consultation with Hill Tourism Development Association Kurseong,
Beside this many more topics like waste management, cleanliness and awareness about tourism among the people was also discussed.
As Rome is not build in a day, Mr. Bhutia said that these projects will take time and we can work on the issues phase wise, something like five years plan or so. Overall the discussing was very fruitful and many outputs came forward. In the long it seems that Kurseong can attract many tourists and can be counted as a tourist destination.
The members present at the meeting was Mr. Sushil Kr.Dhishit- President, Mr. Nabin Kr. Thapa- Vice President, Mr. Jeetu Giri- Secertary, Mr. Anil Kr. Gurung- Resource person (Manager Tourist Lodge- Kurseong), Mr, Kalyan Subba- Convenor, Mr. Mahindra Sharma- Cashier,Mr. Dipen Muhkia- Press & Publicity & Mr, Naren Pradhan- Executive member.