Rukmini Barua Deka
“All tourism issues of North eastern region, including its promotion as a safe tourist destination would be addressed on a priority basis. The issue of direct air connectivity of this region with the neighbouring countries would be taken up with the Ministry of Civil Aviation to promote the inflow of international tourists to this region”, said K.J.Alphons, Union Minister of State, Tourism, soon after the inauguration of 6th International Tourism Mart (ITM) at Hotel Vivanta by Taj, Guwahati, on 5th December, 2017.
The three-day ITM was organized by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in association with the North eastern states. Twenty-nine foreign countries participated in it. There were participants from Australia, Bhutan, Brunei, Canada, China, Cambodia, Cyprus, Fiji, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, The Netherlands, Phillippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA and Vietnam. All the major Tour operators of the North eastern region took part in it. Officials of the tourism departments of all the states of India including the states of North eastern region participated in it. Tourism Ministers of some states were also present in it. Officials of Ministry of DONER and North Eastern Council were also present in it. There were officials of India Tourism Development Corporation and Foreign Missions of New Delhi.
“It’s a wonderful platform for developing inter-regional and international tourism between the ASEAN nations, the North eastern region of India and the BIMSTEC countries. We must take full advantage of this platform to promote tourism in each and every state, interacting with the delegates in a substantial manner. Assam is a land of unparalleled beauty. Being well known for venerating guests, the people are well known for their hospitality. In the long run, this Tourism Mart will pave the way for promoting tourism potential of this region”, said Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, Governor of Assam, inaugurating the ITM.
Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam said that viewing the pristine and unspoilt beauty of this region of India is a new experience for the national and international delegates. “Assam has not witnessed any law and order problem during the couple of years, which needs to be conveyed to all in a very positive way”, said Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister of Tourism, Assam.
Pema Khandu, Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh was also present at the time of the inauguration of ITM. He raised the issue of connectivity of Arunachal Pradesh. He said that surveys are on for improving rail and air connectivity of the state with the rest of the country.
“To boost tourism in the region the Union government has sanctioned 14 major projects worth Rs. 1200 crore of which Assam has two major projects worth Rs. 194 crore. The Union government has devised plans to promote Assam as a preferred place for adventure tourism.
Under the UDAN scheme, 92 air routes will be opened in the north eastern region which will give a major fillip to air connectivity in this region. The air routes will also utilize unused airstrips and some new airports will also come into being.
The union government is working out a strategy to get more tourists. It is paying attention to inter-regional and thematic packages over and above the existing ones. The Union tourism ministry is working in coordination with social media to showcase the tourism potential of this region. An exclusive Road show for the North east will be held in Thailand soon. Around 67 foreign delegates, 42 tour operators and a host of writers took part in this three-day ITM.