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Sikkim Govt to improve tourism experience in the state

First Published: 19th January, 2023 9:59 IST

Govt likely to standardise taxi fares, improve roads to boost tourism in the state

In a bid to boost the tourism sector in the state, the Sikkim tourism department has decided to take steps to improve the tourism experience of people visiting the state and ensure ease of doing business for local taxi operators, tour and travel agencies.

With this in mind, Additional Chief Secretary  Tourism and Civil Aviation Department,  M.L. Srivastav, chaired a coordination meeting with stakeholders and various line departments to discuss the issues concerning the tourism industry yesterday. 

The main objective of the meeting was to discuss tourist facilitation, provision of comfort of tourists upon arrival in Sikkim, and ease of business favouring local taxi drivers and tourist agencies of the State. 

During the meeting, various issues regarding the standardization of taxi fares, evaluation of the road condition of the State, and the status of Pakyong Greenfield airport, were elaborately reviewed and discussed.

The modification of the marketing plan for Sikkim to participate in International and National trade shows and the launching of new destinations and trek routes throughout the State were also part of the meeting agenda.

The stakeholders shared their grievances with the officials of various line departments and shared suggestions at great length during the meeting. Some of them are as follows: 

  • Permit to local taxis as a tourist vehicles in major destinations. 
  • Inclusion of tourist buses to major destinations to maximize tourist outreach. 
  • Compulsory well-defined rate charts to be installed in taxis and luxury vehicles, which are to be monitored periodically by the concerned officials.
  • Only registered tourism agencies can operate tours around the State. 
  • Travel agencies to charge the same rate as prescribed by the Government.
  • Sensitization of rates of major destinations around the State to tourists through Govt portals and Govt audio-visual media houses. 
  • Change of name of Green lake, located between  Zemu Glacier to Khangchendzonga Base Camp. 
  • Introduction of new destinations and trekking routes brochure with QR codes which will provide information about hotels, transport details, opening and closing times of venues, road maps, tour guide information, and emergency numbers. These brochures are to be distributed to the tourists on arrival in Sikkim.  
  • Introducing new tourist destinations and trekking sites in Goecha La, Menmecho Lake, and Bhaley Dunga. 
  • Names of destinations to be approved by the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department to avoid confusion among tourists. Revival of milestones with proper regional names.
  • Installment of Tourist Police and Tourist Directorate in the coming days. 

Additional Chief Secretary of Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, M.L. Srivastav, took note of the suggestions and assured that they would be forwarded to the higher authority and co-ordinated with various line departments for implementation. It was also informed that a meeting would take place in the coming days, including line departments and tourism stakeholders from all six districts, for feedback and suggestions. 

Srivastava expressed his satisfaction in conducting a fruitful meeting and requested coordination from line departments and stakeholders to boost the tourism industry in the State. He hoped for such meetings in the future and thanked the government officials and stakeholders for their constructive feedback.  

The officials present in the meeting included Special Secretary of Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Ms. Karma Doma Youtso, Additional Secretary, Ms. Bandana Chettri,  Additional Chief Engineer, Roads and Bridges Department,  Jigmee Wangyal Bhutia, S.D.P.O. Gangtok,  Prakash Subba, RTO Transport Department, R. Pradhan, President TAAS, S. Wangyal Lachungpa,  President ASTHA,  Suman Chettri, Central Joint Action Committee Local Taxi (Gangtok) President,  Bhaichung Bhutia,All Sikkim Luxury Vehicle Owner-cum-Driver’s Welfare Association President, Bhuwan Pradhan, Officers from various line departments, concerned Government officials, representatives from SAATO, SUTO and various travel and driver’s association.

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