Bengal minister in war of words with travel show organisers

July 13th, 2012 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 13 (IANS) A war of words broke out between West Bengal Tourism Minister Rachpal Singh and organisers of the Travel and Tourism Fair - one of India’s biggest travel show in India - Friday after the minister accused them of taking benefits from the government, but not doing enough to promote the state’s tourism sector.

The organisers later termed the statement as “childish” and “unprofessional”.

“I must say one thing, that I am not happy with the organisers. You people started off from Kolkata and have grown into a national fair. But this fair has not given any place to poor travel agents from Kolkata or Bengal. Unless they are here, how will they interact with other travel agents of different states?” said the minister while addressing the opening session of the 96th edition of the TTF here.

“You should have conducted road shows. You have taken away Bengali tourists to other states, Bengali tourists to other countries. But you are not bringing tourists for Bengal.

“We are patronising you, but you are not giving the state anything in return. You should have allowed the small tour operators to set up stalls at subsidised rates. If such things go on, I will think ten times before patronising you,” he said.

The minister also warned that if the tour fair continued to ignore promoting the state as a tourist destination, then he will write to the central government to stop grants.

The TTF organisers rubbished the allegations after the minister had left the venue..

“He is misinformed and is not briefed properly. The statements are childish,’ said Sanjeev Agarwal, chairman and CEO, FAIRFEST Media LTD- the organisers of TTF.

“Wherever we organise fairs in India, there is always a pavilion for Bengal. There is a lack of understanding on the part of this new government. This new government has to find its feet. It is unprofessional on their part,” Agarwal told media persons.

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