The remote Indian state of Sikkim will get its first airport next year, as the government continues its efforts to boost tourism in the country’s northeast.
The Economic Times reported India’s Minister of Tourism, Culture & Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma, as saying this week that the new facility will open in the small Himalayan state before the end of 2016.
“Preparation[s] are afoot and we are hopeful that the state will have its first airport operational from December 2016,” Dr Sharma said at the International Tourism Mart, which is being held in Sikkim’s capital, Gangtok.
The new facility is expected to be located at Pakyong, 35km from Gangtok. At present, travellers to Sikkim have to fly to Bagdogra Airport in neighbouring West Bengal, one hour’s drive away.
In a further effort to boost tourism in Sikkim, the Ministry of Tourism has pledged INR980 million (US$15m) for the state’s development.
Sandwiched between Nepal and Bhutan, Sikkim is India’s second smallest and least populous state.