The West Bengal government has trained about 200 youths as "guides" to help foreign delegates and tourists speaking different languages during their visit to the city for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The students of several Hospitality and Tourism Management institutes have been trained as 'Atithi Bandhu' or Friend of Guest in different languages like Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese and German other than English at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, an official of the state tourism department told PTI.
"Apart from the UK, there will be tourists from Spain, Japan, Germany among other nations during the World Cup matches. So we have decided to train students in different languages to act as guides for the tourists," he said.
The department is also giving these students training in other areas like knowledge about several tourist spots.
About 3,000 foreign tourists are expected in the city daily during the World Cup, he said.
"The number is expected to go up to 10,000 per day as the tournament progresses to the final. And these 'Atithi Bondhu' will guide them in moving around the city visiting various tourist attractions," he said.
Kolkata is one of the favourite cities of the foreign tourists visiting India each year.
"And the World Cup is expected to act as a major boost to their preferences. The Victoria Memorial, the Indian Museum, the Kalighat Temple as well as other historical and cultural sites and places connected to Rabindranath Tagore and Mother Teresa have been attracting major tourists. The 'Athithi Bondhu' will be the ideal people to interpret the significance of these places," he said.
Details of the identities of the guides like names, e-mail addresses and the cost of hiring would be available on the website of the state tourism department.
"Tourists willing to hire one guide may contact them directly through the website. We are hopeful that this initiative will get a positive response," he said.
Kolkata will be hosting ten matches, including the final scheduled on October 28.
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