SIKKIM YOUTH ADVENTURE FEST TO FOLLOW IMMEDIATELY AFTER
GANGTOK, 24 Jan: The Sikkim Snow & Culture Festival, jointly organized by the Tourism Department, TAAS, SHRA and various village tourism development committees, is all set to commence from 14 February and conclude on 29 February. The event, aimed as a ‘recovery mission’ for the tourism industry devastated by the 18 Sept Earthquake, will seek to showcase afresh to prospective visitors and announce that ‘normalcy’ has returned to Sikkim and that it was still safe, pristine and peaceful like it has always been.
Tourism Minister, Bhim Dhungel, unveiled plans for the Fest at a press conference here today. Accompanied by the Tourism Secretary, R Telang, TAAS president, Lukendra Rasaily, SHRA president, Bhanu Rasaily, TAAS general secretary, Norgay Lachungpa and SHRA general secretary, Prashant Subedi, the Minister also released the Sikkim Snow & Culture Fest stickers, posters, T-Shirts and launched the official website, www.sikkimsnowfest.com.
Although the fest falls in a lean period of the tourist season, the organisers expect around 55,000 tourists to till make it here. The State government, it is informed, is promoting the event through different media houses across the country and organizing press conferences in all the cities where there are Sikkim Houses to announce the fest.
Many travel writers of repute have also been invited to Sikkim to cover the event, it is informed.
The festival will highlight the culture, nature, adventure activities in Sikkim and will also include a series of talent hunt exercises.
Amongst the various activities lined up for the tourists are adventure activities such as mountain biking, rallies & races, trekking, camping, angling, skiing, paragliding, rock climbing, river rafting, treasure hunt competition, zorbing, kayaking, hot air balloons, paint ball shooting, which will be organized at venues throughout the state.
Further, there will be exhibition and sale counters of paintings, handicrafts, drift woods, flower shows, factory produce from Sikkim, and mountaineering equipment on display. Along with entertainment activities such as cultural shows, food festivals, yak rides, Singye dances and fashion shows, there will also be country music contest, folk song contests, dance contests, beauty pageants, beat contest and Valentine’s Day special programme.
Tour packages, trekking, customised tours to pilgrimage destinations and even ice hockey and golf at the highest golf course in the world will also be organized with the support of the Indian Army.
The events are open for all including locals.
It was also informed that the Snow & Culture Fest 2012 will be followed by the Sikkim Youth Adventure Fest which will continue throughout the year.
In this regard, the Tourism Minister stated, “These fests will restore tourist traffic to Sikkim to what it was prior to the earthquake. The Mission will be used as a tool to rejuvenate the businesses, rekindle the enthusiasm of the tourism stakeholders and most importantly restore the position of Sikkim as the most favoured eco-tourism destination on the tourism map of the country and the world”.
He added that the State Government has pledged full support to the mission under the leadership of the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling, and would continue to guide its course through the year.
“The fest is being organized for the economic benefit of the local stakeholders and also promotes quality tourism instead of quantity. This is a collective effort since it is a mammoth task we have at hand. The fest will also be an aggressive marketing strategy which will recover the tourism industry which has been affected due to the earthquake. Everything will change for the better now since almost all rebuilding and rehabilitation works are over,” stated the Tourism Minister.