India Business
Tourists savour the tranquility of rural Bengal
May 20, 2007 - 9:30:38 AM

Kolkata, May 20 - Waking up to the chirp of birds in a village cottage to soak in the unspoilt beauty of rural West Bengal may not be too far away for visitors, with the state planning a new tourism initiative.

'Keeping in mind the heritage value of West Bengal villages, the state government has started developing a complete village tourism circuit at Bishnupur in Bankura district,' West Bengal principal secretary of tourism G.D. Gautama told IANS.

'The concept is very new in a sense because earlier no one took any interest in developing rural Bengal as a tourist hotspot.'

He said the village tourism circuit in Bishnupur and Panchmundi in south Bengal would be the first such area where tourists can get all regular facilities within a rural set up.

But utmost care would be paid to retain the natural beauty of the place, Gautama said.

Later on, the same model of village tourism would be implemented in several rural places like Bolpur in Birbhum district, Murshidabad, Malda and Purulia. These projects would be developed through Public Private Partnership - to make it a one-stop destination for tourism related activities.

The concept of developing this village tourism circuit is targeted to promote rural Bengal and its cultural heritage, mainly to woo foreigners as well as tourists from other Indian states.

'We would not only develop the hospitality sector to facilitate tourists but also promote the temples, cultural heritage and traditional art forms of Bankura to enhance the attraction of the place,' Gautama said.

The state tourism department would take up some beautification projects like illumination of temples, waterfalls and heritage buildings to bring a significant change in the rural landscape of the tourism circuit.

Bankura district, which boasts of a wide range of handicrafts, is situated in the frontal arid region of West Bengal.

It is famous for its terracotta products - a form of clay pottery, Baluchori - a fine quality of woven textile, Dokra - a kind of metal casting, conch shells, wood and bamboo crafts.

'Along with the tourism facility, the state government would also focus on showcasing Bankura's handicrafts to foreign visitors to help improve the local economy and encourage traditional art forms amongst rural artisans,' Gautama added.

West Bengal currently receives four percent of India's foreign and domestic tourists.

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