The second tourism track conference under India’s G20 presidency, scheduled for the first week of April in West Bengal’s Siliguri and Darjeeling, would focus on the potential of adventure tourism. Last month’s Tourism Working Group conference in Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch concentrated on archaeological and rural tourism.
“The five priority areas – green tourism, digitalisation, skills, tourism MSMEs, and destination management – were introduced by India in the working session and were endorsed by all G20 members, invitee countries, and international organisations,” Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh told The Deccan Era.
According to him, the second Tourism Working Group meeting will be held from April 1 to 3, during which delegates will address deeper and broader aspects of the group’s five priorities. In keeping with the archaeological tourism theme, the first meeting included a trip of the Harappan site of Dholavira, while the second meeting featured a day-long tour of Darjeeling, according to officials.
The working session, which will include a presentation by the United Nations World Tourism Organization and inputs from the G20 troika (India, Indonesia, and Brazil), is intended to finalise the first draught outcome, according to officials. The draught will be considered during the tourism track ministerial in Goa in July and the G20 Summit in Delhi this September, according to Singh.
According to officials, the major attraction will be the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, popularly known as the ‘Toy Train Ride,’ which will run from Ghum, India’s highest railway station at an elevation of 2,258 metres, to Batasia Loop, which gives a view of the Kanchenjunga peak. Delegates will also be taken for tea sampling and moonlight tea leaf plucking experiences to promote the Darjeeling tea brand, which received India’s first GI protection in 2004. They will also go to Raj Bhavan, the Governor of West Bengal’s vacation house.
The three-day event will showcase Himalayan Mountaineering Institute items and an exhibition to promote sustainable practises in adventure tourism on Darjeeling’s Mall Road.
According to Singh, the tourism ministry is sponsoring a side event on ‘adventure tourism as a platform for attaining sustainable development goals,’ with participation from the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India office-bearers. He stated that a full-day event had been planned for domestic players and state governments to discuss methods to boost adventure tourism in India.
Delegates will also be shown a variety of one-district-one-product options. It contains a wooden owl set from the Burdwan district, handkerchiefs from Malda, a dhokra fish hook from Bankura, and attar (perfume) from Kalimpong.