Sikkim draws record tourists

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Gangtok, Oct 7 (ANI): Tourist arrivals in Sikkim record an increase due to its natural beauty and peaceful environment.

Around 2,80,000 tourists visited Sikkim in the first five months of 2009, which is nearly 35 percent more than the last year.

Some tourists even compare the scenic beauty of the State to some of the cities in Europe.We find Sikkim a very beautiful place. It is very neat, clean and lovely.... You can almost compare it with one of the cities in Europe," said Arvind Dasyu, a tourist from Maharashtra.

"Just for natural beauty. The town is very much fresh and clean and the people are very much cooperative. So we had the intention to come here," said Prosonjeet Sarkar, a tourist from West Bengal.

According to the local tour operators, Sikkim came under the focus of tourism from 1992. Since then, tourist arrivals have been increasing at a rapid pace.

"Earlier Sikkim was not in focus but since 1992, Sikkim came under the focus of tourism because of its natural beauty. Sikkim has green forests, falls, rivers and streams, mountain peaks which tourists love to see and experience because nowadays people remain busy in their fast lives. So in order to attain peace, they come here," said Deepak Kumar Rai, a local tour operator.

Sikkim has declared the year 2010 as the Year of Tourism and lined up as many as 13 festivals to woo the visitors and develop the tourism sector as its main source of revenue and employment.

Fifty eight million rupees have been injected by the central Government in nineteen projects for infrastructure development of North Sikkim during 2007-08.

The Centre has funded twelve projects as Centrally Sponsored Schemes from Ministry of Tourism; six projects have been funded as the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) while the State government, as per official reports, has funded one project.

Nestling in the Himalayas, Sikkim is the least populous State in India and the second smallest in area after Goa. (ANI)

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