The Tourism & Civil Aviation Department of Sikkim, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, successfully concluded a series of workshops focused on “Etiquette and Grooming for Tourist Taxi Drivers” at Pakyong Community Hall today.
The primary goal of workshops is to enhance the experience of tourists, in line with the principle of “Atithi Devo Bhava,” and to contribute to the UNWTO-United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s theme for “World Tourism Day 2023” of “Tourism and Green Investments—Investing in People, Planet and Prosperity.
The workshops aimed to equip tourism stakeholders, focusing on tourist taxi drivers, with essential skills, knowledge, and etiquette to provide a welcoming and hospitable environment for visitors. The programme was designed to align with the global initiative to promote sustainable and responsible tourism practises that benefit both people and the planet.
These workshops are a vital part of the broader UNWTO initiative, focusing on investing in “people.” By prioritising education and upscaling the skills of individuals engaged in the tourism sector, the workshops sought to create a positive and enriching experience for tourists visiting Sikkim.
Participants from different driver associations of Rhenock, Rongli, Rorathang, and Pakyong attended a day-long capacity-building programme. The participants gained insights into cultural sensitivity, effective communication, presentation skills, different permits in Sikkim, road safety, attending emergency situations, etc., thereby enhancing their ability to cater to diverse groups of tourists.
Distinguished experts from various departments in Sikkim chaired the workshops and delivered enlightening sessions. Mr. Nirmal Cintury, Deputy Director, T&CAV, discussed the diverse roles and responsibilities of tourist taxi drivers.
Mr. Sonam Rinchen Bhutia, Deputy Director, T&CAV, covered various permits required for tourists in Sikkim.
Mr. Raghav Chettri, Tourist Officer Pakyong, expressed his gratitude to all participants, trainers, and partners who contributed to the success of these workshops. He remarked, “The aim of organising workshops is to create a harmonious blend of exceptional tourist experiences and sustainable practises.
Likewise, Ms. Vijeta Chettri, T.O. T&CAV, provided insights on etiquette and grooming for tourist taxi drivers.
Additionally, experts from the Motor Vehicle Department, Mr. P.R. Dulal, RTO, Pakyong, and Deputy RTO, Mr. D.P. Sharma, led an important session on motor vehicle rules, regulations, road safety, penalties for unsafe driving, and document violations.
Furthermore, a representative from Pakyong PHC, Dr. Gyanendra Karki, Deputy Director, and Dr. Himanshu Hazarika highlighted handling road accident emergencies and administering first aid during emergencies.
During the panel discussion session, various grievances were placed by tourist taxi drivers; their grievances were heard and addressed by the department’s resource persons. The grievance encompassed concerns such as permit issuance, overcharging by travel agents, basic amenities like sanitation facilities, etc.
The workshops on “Etiquette and Grooming for Tourist Taxi Drivers” marked a significant step towards realising the vision of responsible tourism in Sikkim. The Tourism Department remains committed to its mission of promoting tourism that respects local cultures, supports local economies, and contributes to the well-being of the community and the environment.
The programme was supervised by Ms. Deepa Gurung, Tourist Officer, Melli TIC. while the TIC Pakyong team and Reshi provided valuable assistance throughout.
The workshop concluded with the distribution of certificates to nearly 175 participants, and Mr. Saaurav Baraily, Tourist Officer from TIC, Reshi, graciously presented a truly remarkable vote of thanks, leaving everyone inspired and appreciative.