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Wednesday, 07 August, 2019, 17 : 57 PM [IST]

West Bengal Tourism to showcase the new face of Kolkata by hosting IATO convention

While playing host to the 35th IATO Convention, West Bengal Tourism will attempt to showcase the new face and identity of Kolkata as a hub city and West Bengal as a tourism destination to the tourism trade in the country. Slated to be held between September 12 and 15 in the city, West Bengal Tourism will also try to give a glimpse of the preparations towards the biggest tourism property of West Bengal Tourism, Durga Puja to the delegates of the Convention.  It’s after a gap of  17 years that Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) travelling to Kolkata for their annual convention.

Speaking after launching the logo and theme of the IATO convention in Delhi today, Atri Bhattacharya, Principal Secretary – Tourism, Government of West Bengal said that the primary aim of the State Tourism is to showcase the new face of the city to the tourism trade in India. “The city has changed remarkably over the last 10 years.  It is much cleaner today with less traffic snarls compared to other metro cities in the country,” he said. Bhattacharya said that the government very well understand the economic potential of the tourism sector and supportive of the sector as it creates goodwill to the destination.

He urged the tourism trade in the country to look beyond Kolkata as the government under Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee envisions preserving the cultural identity of the destination and highlight that through slew of festivals. Starting from Durga Puja which is by far the biggest cultural show on earth which sees the participation of an estimated 13 million people across 10 days, the government has charted out many cultural events and festivals till Holi, at different places in the State to promote the heritage and culture of the State, he said. He mentioned the Kali Puja in October, Kolkata International Film Festival in November, X-Mas Carnival in December, Music Festival in January, etc.

 “We have signed an MoU with British Council to put together a River Festival in January in Kolkata. We want to take it to couple of more destinations on weekends,” he added.

He said that the State has created nice tourism circuits around wildlife and adventure around South Western part of the State which are blessed with rivers, mountains and forests, and heritage circuit around Malda and Murshidabad. Dooars on the foothills of the Himalayas is popular with nature lovers and the stretch from Kolkata to Durgapur and Asansol is famous for business and recreational trips.

Bhattacharya said that a new theme called ‘Ocean to the Sky’ would ideally encapsulate the natural advantages of the State and its tourism opportunities. 

Recognising the potential in the cruise tourism front, the Principal Secretary said that the government is in the process of introducing two more high capacity vessels to support the existing four vessels. The intention is to deploy these new vessels in water bodies in places like Mukutmanipur to spread the benefits of cruise tourism to newer destinations.

IATO has unveiled the logo and the theme on the occasion.  The theme of the 35th annual convention is ‘Is Tourism Thriving – Challenges and Opportunities’. The convention will be held at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre and the newly opened ITC Royal Bengal Hotel is the convention hotel.

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