It was long overdue! Darjeeling is one of the best teas in the world…. and a gold standard in teas.. so it was time to make it a brand in itself!
Last week, Forbes reported that high-end travel planner Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) was organising 14-day packages to Darjeeling and Bhutan priced at $7,000-plus per head. Bookings are full up till the beginning of October. “With Darjeeling tea being accorded GI, tea tourism is the best bet,” said Sandeep Mukherjee, secretary, Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA).
“Earlier, tea gardens were producing and selling teas but lately the gardens are diversifying towards tea tourism.” Gardens like Glenburn Tea Estate are even organising helicopter charters “on request”.
And the Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned Rs 388.98 lakh for the integrated development of the Tea Tourism Circuit in North Bengal — a big chunk of which would be allotted for Darjeeling Hills.
Recently, a two-member team from Help Tourism – an agency that organizes tour packages in the northeast — visited France’s Champagne District to understand ‘Champagne Tourism’. "On the lines of Champagne Tourism, we have decided to promote tea tourism in three categories: tea tourism revolving around the old tea garden bungalows, dating back to the Raj days, tea tourism revolving around the workers’ quarters and tea tourism for day-visitors," said Help’s Raj Basu. All categories will involve plantation and factory visits and tea tasting. The agency promoted the idea in London and talks are on with big tea retailers who have promised a tie-up. "Watch out for www.teatourindia.com soon," added Basu.
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