Pelling, a tiny hilly hamlet in west district of the neighbouring state of Sikkim and located around 135 km from Siliguri, is the closest motorable spot from where the Kanchenjungha can be seen from a close distance.
This is the new site where the tourism stakeholders and officials of the Sikkim government, including chief minister Pawan Chamling, will congregate later this month to attend a tourism festival and also to celebrate the World Tourism Day.
According to the organisers, celebrations will start from third week of September. The festival will be formally inaugurated by the chief minister on September 27.
“There are major tourist spots like the Kanchenjungha National Park, a world heritage site, old monasteries like Pemayangtse, Dubdi, Sanga Choeling and Tashiding and the famous Khecheopalri Lake, Phutsachu, the only hot spring in the state which are there in the western part of Sikkim. Our objective is to promote this beautiful part of the state” said Raj Basu, the tourism adviser to the Sikkim government, here on Thursday.
Nosang Limbu, an executive committee member of West Sikkim Tourism Society (WSTS), which is organising the event, in association with some other organisations and the state government, elaborated on the activities that would be available for tourists during the fest.
“The fest will start with mountain biking from Pelling. Along with cycling, participants can also get into other activities like bird watching and butterfly sighting while promoting rural tourism Paragliding and marathon are the other attractions at the event, along with cultural functions. Also, ethnic foods would be available for visitors during the fest,” said Limbu.
“We will bring in travel writers so that the region is highlighted among national and international travel fraternity,” he said.
Another representative of the society said they will also highlight home-stay tourism and ethnic cultural activities of the state through the fest.
“If the inflow of tourists increase in the region and more and more people come at the home-stay accommodations, it would generate employment opportunities for local residents. This would encourage them to explore and create more options for tourists,” said Karma Choki Bhutia, vice-president, WSTS.
Representatives of Eastern Himalaya Travel & Tour Operators’ Association were also present at the interaction. “We are one of the associates of this event. Such fests can always help in bringing in more tourists keen to visit Darjeeling and Sikkim in an integrated manner,” said Debashis Maitra, president of the association.