Kalimpong, Nov. 21: From next month, tourists to the Hills need look no further for guides with that little bit of local knowledge.
The West Bengal Forest Development Corporation has come up with a plan to introduce trained local people as “nature guides” from December. “Tourists can now opt for these guides if they want more information about the spots that they visit,” said N.S. Muruli, the divisional manager of the corporation.
“We are following the concept of eco-tourism here so that local people can earn through it. Also, if they are included in tourism they will be more interested in looking after the area properly,” Muruli added.
Muruli said so far, 32 people have been trained to recognise different birds, trees and medicinal plants found in the region. “The training also included lessons in hospitality so that they can make the tourists feel at ease,” he said.
Initially, four tourist spots have been chosen: Lava (32 km from Kalimpong), Loleygaon (56 km from Kalimpong), Suntalekhola (81 km from Siliguri) and Samsing (85 km from Siliguri). “We will introduce the project in other places, too, depending on people’s response,” Muruli said.