The state, which borders China, has been a major destination for tourists seeking to understand its rich Buddhist culture. In fact, the interest in Buddhism-related tourism has been responsible for the state attracting a lot of tourists in the last two years, mostly from Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan. The government is now looking to focus on measures to attract visitors from Japan, and to promote its culture to similar-minded Japanese tourists.
Tourism secretary to the state, Ravindra Telang, said that the government was developing several projects that would be completed by 2015.
The government said that it was planning to give a boost to rural tourism and would therefore build more than 14,000 home stays in rural areas. In addition, locals in the state would be trained and encouraged to work more in the tourism sector. The state is also working flat out to complete the ‘Buddha Park’ project in South Sikkim’s Rabong area, which was originally due for completion last year. Similarly, two more pilgrimage centres, the Sleeping Buddha in North Sikkim, and Srijunga Statue in Hee-Bermiok, are expected to complete by 2015.
The area has many other attractions, including Buddhist shrines, monasteries and two hot springs, whose waters are said to be curative and restorative.
Official records show that Sikkim had 30,000 foreign visitors so far this year, the highest number in the last two years. Even though a recent earthquake had affected tourism badly, more than 24,350 foreign tourists have visited the state in the nine months since the earthquake.