Kolkata: The ninth edition of “Destination East” will be held at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre from January 12 to 19 with the aim to attract more foreign tourists in Bengal and at the same time, position the state among the top in MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions) tourism. The event is a joint endeavour of the state Tourism department and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).”Kolkata has enormous potential to emerge as a MICE destination. We have at present 3,860 hotel rooms in the city with all modern facilities. Another 1,700 rooms will be coming up in the next five years with an investment to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore. We have a state-of-the-art convention centre in the form of Biswa Bangla Convention Centre at New Town and the Milan Mela convention centre is being developed. This shows the city’s potential as a MICE destination,” said Vijay Dewan, chairman of Tourism Subcommittee, CII, Eastern Region. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThis year’s “Destination East” will have 110 international buyers from 42 countries with 65 percent of the representatives from North American and European countries. Last year, there was representation from 30 countries. Principal Secretary of state Tourism department Atri Bhattacharya said: “We are taking all possible measures to promote the state as an all-season destination. “We are focusing on the development of heritage tourism. We will also be interacting with the international tour operators and based on their suggestions, necessary steps will be taken for giving the tourism circuit a boost.” Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe state Tourism department is laying special emphasis on promoting homestays across the state. “We are grading the homestays and those scoring good grades will be integrated into the app that we will be developing soon. This will convince the tourists of the quality of the homestays,” a senior official of the state Tourism department said. The state government, in coordination with the CII Tourism subcommittee, will soon start training for the homestay owners so that they are familiar with the nitty gritties that a tourist seeks during his stay and take measures accordingly.