Kolkata: ‘Atithi Bandhu’ or ‘Friend of Guest’ , around 200 students studying Hospitality and Tourism Management courses in Kolkata have been trained to act as such during the days of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Kolkata. Ten matches, including the final would be played in the city.
They would be guides to some of the approximately 3,000 foreign tourists expected to be in the city daily during the duration of the World Cup. This number is expected to become 10,000 per day around the days of the final.
The Bengal Tourism Department is involved in getting these students trained in Spanish, Portuguese and German – languages other than English which are expected to be the mother tongues of most of the foreign tourists – at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, as well as giving them other necessary training to turn them into effective tourist guides.
Kolkata is one of the favourite cities with foreign tourists and the grand sporting occasion is expected to act as a major boost to the number. Be it Victoria Memorial, India Museum, Kalighat Temple or the other historical and cultural sites of Kolkata, or the places linked to the lives of Mother Teresa, Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray – the three most-recognised personalities from the City of Joy – these ‘Atithi Bandhus’ or ‘Friends of Guests’ would be the ideal people to interpret the significance of these places and guide tourists through them.
Details regarding the identities of these guides – like names, e-mail addresses, etc. – as well as the cost of hiring them would be available on the website of the State Tourism Department. Tourists can contact the guides directly through the website.
This is not a one-off project though. The State Government, through the Tourism Department, is going to make ‘Atithi Bandhu’ an ever-continuing project, for foreign tourists arrive in Kolkata throughout the year; and Christmas is the next big occasion.
Source: All India Trinamool Congress