Aiming to give a positive fillip to Bengal’s tourism sector, the state government has roped in New York-based consultancy firm HVS International to prepare a vision document and declared that Bollywood superstar and Bengal’s brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan would be featuring in the Television Commercial (TVC).
Ajit Ranjan Bardhan, state tourism secretary said the commercial would be ready within three months. “The consultancy company would decide what the commercial would look like and who else would we need along with Shah Rukh. We have got into an agreement with the consultancy company for three years against an annual fees of Rs 75 lakh. The TVC would cost nothing less than 10 crore. It might cost Rs 20 crore even,” Bardhan said at a CII event here, while announcing ‘Destination East’, the two-day tourism fair to be held on February 5 and 6.
Bardhan added that as many as 25 countries would participate in the fifth edition of the fair which had been organised to project Bengal as a tourism hub focussing on potential areas such as Kolkata, Darjeeling, Dooars, Sunderbans and Gangasagar.
In 2013-14, the number of domestic tourists coming to Bengal was 2.55 crore while foreign tourists accounted for 12.45 lakh. “The year-on-year growth had been around the five-per cent mark and we intend to take it to 10 per cent over the next five years,” Bardhan said.
He also said Kolkata would be promoted as the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) destination. “Two conference centres are already being built by the state government in Rajarhat and Alipore,” he said.
Vijay Dewan, Park Hotel MD and chairman of tourism sub-committee of CII said that the state government had announced several schemes to attract investment in tourism here including capital subsidy of Rs 2 crore, interest subsidy for new projects and 50-70 per cent waiver in stamp duty for new projects in the hospitality sector.
“There had been Rs 1,500 crore investment in the last five years and the figure should double in the next five years. In the recently concluded Bengal Global summit it had been estimate that Rs 1,950 crore would be invested here in the next three years including Park Hotel’s expansion plan of Rs 600 crore,” he said.
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