Guwahati: Tea is one of the most popular beverages not only in Assam but across the world. The sight of a tea estate is the most refreshing view and Assam is all set to promote its tea tourism.
In 2022, Jayanta Mallahbaruah, the state minister for Public Health Engineering, Skill Development Employment and Entrepreneurship and Tourism, said if Assam wanted to be among the top five states of the country and if India wanted to be on the forefront of the global economy, then tourism will have to play a vital role in achieving these goals.
He said since wildlife tourism has its own limitations the state government has been working on promoting tea tourism.
The state government has already decided to provide Rs 200-crore subsidy to investors who would restore and make the heritage bungalows and gardens in tea estates into a tourist-friendly destination.
Considering the enormous potential of tea tourism in Assam, it is proposed to develop 50 selective tea gardens as tourism destinations in a Mission Mode approach.
For the purpose, the state government has also amended the Assam Fixation of Ceiling on Land Holding Act, 1956 through an ordinance.
Business Northeast spoke to officials of Paryatan Bhawan to see its progress. As many as 37 tea estates across the state applied for the opening of tea tourism spots. Verification of the applications will soon be done. Each tea estate shall get a sum of Rs 2 crore for building and promoting tea tourism in their estates. It will be decided later whether they will employ new people or not for the project.
The project is under the scheme Promotion and Development of Tea Tourism Infrastructure in Assam announced in the Financial Year 2022-2023. An amount of Rs 50 crore has been earmarked for the promotion of tea tourism.
By March 2023, a select list of tea estates will be informed from among the applicants.
The components of the scheme include renovation of the heritage bungalows, renovation of heritage tea guest houses, renovation of the front side of tea gardens depicting all modern tea tourism implications, construction of dining hall/ cafeteria will all modern amenities, development of swimming pools/ spa as part of the facilities, develop facilities including angling, boating and water fountain.
The other facilities include the development of a yoga and recreation facility, golf courses, and installation of solar lights.
The Government of Assam will also engage local youth in proposed tea tourism activities. The tourist will avail tea tasting facilities as well.
The pattern of assistance or sharing pattern under the scheme is 50:50 (Government’s share: Beneficiary share). The selected Tea Gardens will be the beneficiaries under the scheme, with an upper ceiling of Rs 2 crore as the government share.
The selected tea garden authority will have to agree to make use of existing guest houses/bungalows with necessary renovations if required for the accommodation of tourists. The tea garden authority will have to be agreed to enter into an agreement with the implementing agencies, that is, Assam Tourism Development Corporation Limited to comply with the guidelines.
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