Sikkim to host International Tourism Mart

New Delhi, Sep 30 (IANS) Sikkim’s capital Gangtok will host the Fourth International Tourism Mart (ITM) from October 14 to 16, Minister of State for Tourism Mahesh Sharma said here on Wednesday.

“International buyers and media delegates from 27 countries are participating in this year’s ITM,” Sharma said at a press conference, adding that the event would showcase the rich tourism potential of the north-eastern states.

In a bid to showcase the largely untapped tourism potential of the north-eastern region, the union tourism ministry has been organising the ITM in association with the different states of the region on a rotation basis. The first, second and third ITMs were organised, respectively, in Guwahati, Tawang and Shillong.

Considering the contiguous features of West Bengal with the north-east, the state has been included in this year’s mart.

Stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given utmost priority to the north-east, Sharma said that promoting tourism in the region has been the emphasis of his ministry.

“It is due to these efforts that the number of foreign tourist visits to the north-eastern states during 2014 grew by 39.8 percent, revealing a significant improvement in the growth of 27.9 percent in FTVs registered during 2013 over 2012,” the minister said.

The 27 countries that will be participating in this year’s ITM are Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Britain, Brunei, Cambodia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the US and Vietnam.

The international buyers and media delegates will engage in business-to-business meetings with sellers from the north-east and West Bengal, according to a statement.

Familiarisation tours to the states in the region have been arranged by the state governments for the overseas delegates from October 17 to 26 to create awareness about the rich and varied tourism products of the region, and give them first hand knowledge and experience of the destination, the statement said.

Besides the foreign delegates, domestic buyers from other parts of the country, and sellers from the north-eastern states and West Bengal would also be participating in the mart.

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