WTD Celebration : A Report

Celebrated at North Bengal Science Center on 27th Sept 2002

The world Tourism day was celebrated with great enthusiasm at the North Bengal Science Centre, Matigara, Siliguri on 27th Sept 2002 by the members of Help Tourism. A daylong seminar cum workshop was organized on a theme entitled “Ecotourism – A Key to Sustainable Development” jointly by the Help Tourism, National Council of Science & Museums. Department of Travel & Tourism Management – Siliguri College and co-ordinated by NGOs like ACT (Association for Conservation & Tourism) & IFCAPD Trust. Attended by 134 delegates from different spheres of life, NGOs, Tour operators, Hoteliers, Ecotourism & Community Tourism practitioners from the field and students from Siliguri College and North Bengal University and members of Print & Audio Visual media.

People who deserve a special mention among the speakers who were present at the seminar cum workshop are: Sri Dinesh Chandra Dakua, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Govt. of West Bengal, Mr. P. D. Rai, Chairman – Eco-Tourism Society of Sikkim (ECOSS), Prof. T. K. Roy Chowdhury, Head of the Department, Tourism – N. B. University, U. G. Burman Roy, Chief Advisor-Press Club of North Bengal, Mr. Andrew Frame, owner of Karmi Farm – Darjeeling and a host of other dignitaries.

Sri Dinesh Dakua said that our region had everything except desert. He put stress on having special interest circuits which are nature & culture based and has to be conducted without disturbing their identity. He also emphasized at big resorts & hotels. He also spoke on the training aspect of ecotourism and asked the house to follow the practices of Help Tourism.

Mr. Sudipto Chanda, while speaking on the role of media insisted inpracticing responsible tourism to be highlighted by the media instead of just highlighting the pleasures of the places. He also spoke on the environmental aspect and the fast degrading eco-system. He insisted not only role of professional media in spreading the ecotourism movement but also the word of mouth as each one reach one.

Mr. P. D. Rai spoke on branding and brand positioning of ecotourism. He also spoke on the south Asia Regional Ecotourism Conservation held at Gangtok this year, attended internationally. He emphasized on attracting the right tourists for the ecotourism destination. The ministry of tourism & the Ministry of forest work hand in hand in Sikkim along with the private entrepreneurs, to ensure ecotourism implementation he said.

The post lunch session started with the workshop to have the Khangchendzonga Region International Ecotourism Park (KRIEP) proposed & implemented. The session was enlivened practitioners. A presentation of the role of ecotourism in the protected areas, compiled by the chief wildlife warden of Andhra Pradesh was a major breakthrough. The house agreed to compile a bigger database of the ecotourism possibilities of the region & send a proposal to all the concerned govt. departments & other agencies. The same must be jointly positioned in the international market. The later half was further enlivened by question – answer session. On the behalf of DHR – India Support Group (Darjeeling Himalayan Railways) Mr. A. Dasgupta explained their plans to expand the scope of this world Heritage site. He also explained the recommendations made to the Govt. by DHR society.

Prof. T. K. Roy Chowdhury, in his well – conceived speech explained the importance of participated from the local community in any ecotourism project. He urged the practitioners of ecotourism not to allow the urbanized industrial culture to dictate the local customs and traditional way of life in the remote villages or natural areas. He also stressed on a combine effort instead of segmented positioning of ecotourism products.

Mr. Raj Basu, on behalf of Help Tourism thanked the delegates, visitors & co-organizers for making the program a grand success. Prof. Mrs. S. Nyogi delivered the vote of thanks.

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