Travel Biz has reported that on January 26, 2012 Sikkim Tourism under its newly constituted Eco-Tourism Directorate of Sikkim came out with a comprehensive policy to promote environment friendly tourism in the Himalayan state.
The new Eco-Tourism Policy envisages taking tourists to parts of state other than capital Gangtok and thereby de-congest the capital city. For this State Eco-tourism Directorate has identified ten villages around Kanchenjunga Sanctuary to be developed as model tourism villages. These ten villages have been zeroed in from a list of 40 villages identified initially. The selection has been done taking into consideration almost nine prerequisites such as accessibility, stakeholders’ interest, scenic attraction of the place, culture, etc. Each village will be developed on a specific theme like water, culture, art and craft, etc. This will improve dispersal of tourists from Gangtok and create employment and wealth for others.
The villages identified include Dzongu, an original Lepcha village, Lachung, Lachen, Okharey, etc.
The project to be completed over next 5 years is being funded by Japan International Co-op Agency (JICA). The Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) has been funding many a initiative in the Himalayan state including assistance for Sikkim Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Management Project (SBFP) for a massive plantation drive across the state.