By: Rukhmini Barua Deka
‘Blue hills bound the view on almost every side, the villages are buried in groves of slender palms, feathery bamboos and broad-leaved plantains and even in the dry season, the country looks fresh and green.’
—Imperial Gazetteer, volume 6, 1908—
Assam is endowed with unparalleled breathtaking scenic beauty, being blessed with vast interspersed alluvial plains, rich dense forests, immense emerald expanse of paddy and tea and oil obtained from the depths of the earth .Brahmaputra and Barak, the two dominant rivers and their 120 tributaries ensure a highly fertile land that abounds with 3500 wetlands, 800 extensive tea estates and 25 wildlife reserves having rare species of flora and fauna. It is a land of fairs and festivals that reflect the true spirit, tradition and lifestyle of the people of Assam, which beckons tourists.
A new tourism policy of the government of Assam has been prepared. Its main objective is to make Assam a tourist hub for north east India and also for tourists that come from east and South East Asian countries. The policy seeks to introduce innovative forms of tourism such as cruises, ethnic tourism, tea and golf, leisure tourism, transit tourism, adventure tourism and monsoon tourism to obtain a good impact. It intends to develop positive, tourist friendly and reciprocative culture among local tour operators, guides and hospitality providers connected with tourism.
To develop tourism packages to cater to various types of tourists and market them through global and local tour operators is also in its new policy. Popularizing local and community hosts to promote Bed and Breakfast projects in lodges and cottages by the side of highways, all across tourist spots and destinations is also included in it. This seeks to develop Assam, by far, into an all season tourist destination and enable the community to draw benefits from tourism, creating a congenial environment for investment.
It was disclosed by Hon’ble Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the last Budget Speech that new Brand Ambassadors will be appointed to promote Assam Tourism. Information Kiosks cum Souvenir shops will be arranged in 10 tourist destinations which are Kamakhya, LGBI Airport, near Hatikhuli TE near Kaziranga, Aranya tourist lodge, Pobitara tourist lodge, Dibrugarh Airport, Dighalipukhuri, Manas national park,Tezpur tourist lodge and Guwahati tourist lodge. Standardised signage have been designed and installed in 10 different locations of the state.
Training for 150 youth, to becoming tourist guides commenced from 19th August 2016 and successfully completed in Guwahati, Pobitara, Manas, Kaziranga , Majuli and Sibsagar. A Kamakhya Temple Development Scheme has been prepared for pilgrimage rejuvenation and spiritual augmentation, including a multi-level car parking area with haats. Work of a tea museum at Dibrugarh has commenced. The office of the Single Window Clearance System for Film Shooting has been established at Assam Paryatan Bhawan, First Floor, Paltan Bazar, Guwahati. A multidisciplinary application format has already been prepared so that the intending producers and directors can apply for permission for film shooting in Assam and the same has been integrated with the website of ‘Ease of doing business in Assam’ and also linked to the official website of Assam Tourism.
In this land of the red rivers and the blue hills, Hon’ble Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma unveiled the new logo and positioning statement of Assam Tourism in the presence of V.S.Bhaskar, Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism and IT and other officials of the department of Tourism. The logo depicts Assam as a delightful abode for the senses. It constitutes four essential elements that exemplify Assam—rhinoceros representing wondrous wildlife, emerald green tea leaf and wave of mighty river Brahmaputra and scenic beauty ever shining like the sun. When put together in a harmonious blend, it tells the story of Awesome Assam.