The Minister of State for Tourism, Mr Sultan Ahmed, on Sunday said tourism funds were not spent fully by States in the East and North-East.

“Tourism funds allocated to the States in East and North-East remained mostly unutilised since 2008-09,” Mr Ahmed said while addressing the third edition of Travel India 2012, organised by the city-based Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Of the Rs 1,100 crore earmarked for tourism annually, nearly Rs 550 crore is distributed among the State Governments depending on the priority of projects, he added.

According to the minister, lack of proper infrastructure and convergence among different ministries have resulted in poor development of tourism.

River Cruise

Mr Ahmed pointed out that river pollution is a major cause of worry for tourism development. The Ganga Action Plan should be revived to introduce river cruises, he said.

For instance, he added, the Kolkata to Varanasi river cruise should be re-launched to promote the tourist destinations along the Ganga, he said.

Tea Tourism

Mr Ahmed suggested that the West Bengal government develop tea tourism in order to attract more foreign tourists. He said it was important that the State Government monitor use of land in the hills to create a proper infrastructure for tea tourism.

(This article was published on July 29, 2012)
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