Kurseong, like Darjeeling, Mirik and Kalimpong, too boasts of historical and beautiful places that can draw tourists, while some places are already popular.
However, the apathy, lack of proper infrastructure, and management have led Kurseong to lag behind when it comes to proving its mettle in the tourism field.
It is learnt that Darjeeling hosts around 3 to 4 lakh tourists annually, while Mirik and Kalimpong accommodate several thousand a year.
However, in comparison to these three major tourist places, the tourist flow in Kurseong is very less or almost nil. According to a local youth, Pema Bhutia, Kurseong is also blessed with exciting natural views and interesting places like Chimney, St Mary’s Hill, Dowhill, the Balason Valley, Giddha Pahar, Rohini and the landmark Eagle’s Crag.
“Not only this, Kurseong region is also surrounded by hundreds of beautiful small villages with the world famous tea gardens like Ambootia, Makaibari, Goomti, Singell and Castleton. But despite these, Kurseong is so far not in the tourism map of Darjeeling,” he lamented.
He added that tourists travelling to Darjeeling, just “look at” the Kurseong town and continue their journey to Darjeeling. “Some tourist spots in Kurseong are Deer Park, Eagle’s Crag, Rock Garden and Shiva Khola, to name a few.
These spots have, however, not been able to draw crowds, but have become hotpots only for dating couples. Not only this, local crowds gather in these spots, but only during bandhs/strikes, that too, only when the weather is good,” Mr Bhutia said.
Representatives of the Gorkhaland territorial Administration (GTA), however, say they have already initiated different tourism projects and built infrastructure in and around Kurseong region.
They added that keeping in mind the tourism potential of Kurseong, they have already started the construction of different projects in the region like a “world class” water kingdom and water theme parks that will come up at Beltar, 12 km away from Kurseong town, the Giddhapahar- Rohini Ropeway for tourism purposes and revamping of the Rohini boating complex, besides many others.
A member of the GTA Tourism department advisory committee, Jitu Giri, said there are several tourism places and sites in Kurseong region that have remained isolated and unexplored.
“All these sites must be included in the tourism map,” he said. “The construction work of a major tourism project, the ropeway from Giddhapahar to Rohini, is going on. The completion of the project would be more tourists for Kurseong,” he added.