Gangtok, Jan. 20, 2011:
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Travel Agent Association of Sikkim (TAAS) and Tholung-Kessung Eco-Tourism Development Committee (TKETDS) at TAAS office here in the capital yesterday.
The MoU signed is for the development, promotion and marketing of tourism activities in Bay-tholung, Pentong-Sakyong and nearby areas in Dzongu.
The president of TKETDS Neema Lepcha said that the area falling under Gram Panchayat Unit will be focused for the promotion of tourism for which the MoU with TAAS is signed.
The society was registered a year ago but till date activities related to promotion of tourism has not been focused. Dzongu is an isolated area and tourism is most viable and suitable for the people of Dzongu and considering the tourism prospect the society met with TAAS few days back for carrying out tourism activities and during the meet with the president and general secretary TAAS suggested conducting a meet in the village addressing the tourism industry. The people of Sakyong- Pentong GPU along with the Panchayat members accepted the proposal whole heartedly. Mr. Lepcha further added that though their village is not so developed but it is full of natural beauty, trekking route and one of the most respected Tholung Gumpa of the state also adds to the tourist attraction. There are many more new destinations which are yet to be explored. He also expressed hope that with the help and cooperation form TAAS their goal will be achieved. Mr. Lepcha even went on to request the tourism department to visit their village and know the potential that exists so that accordingly developmental activities may be initiated.
Mr. Lukendra Rasaily, President TAAS in his address said that Dzongu is a pristine area and holds lots of potential in the international tourism market under village tourism. He requested the representatives of TKETDS not to encourage concrete structures, leasing of property rather to work more on the preservation, protection of tradition, culture, heritage and ethnic values as tourism brings both negative and positive impacts. TAAS had planned of adopting seven villages across the state. They are starting with Dzongu and Melli Kechuper in the first phase. Mr. Rasaily further mentioned that TAAS has set two years time where TAAS will be focusing on creation of product then to development of product and finally marketing and promotion.
Dzongu is vast and has many GPU so TAAS will be requesting every GPU to create a society with whom individual MoU could be signed. TAAS members in small scale have already started promoting Dzongu in the market through websites and emails. He urged the people to have patience in regards to flow of tourist in the adopted villages.
During the meet today the advisor (TAAS) Paljor Lachungpa said that the people needs to be hospitable and focus in protection and safeguarding of ethnic culture along with rich bio-diversity. Vice President Tshering Dorjee Lachungpa, General Secretary S Norgay Lachungpa and executive members of TAAS along with representatives of TKETDS were present.
(Courtesy: Sikkim Mail)