Arunachal CM asks officials to focus on tourism promotion
Itanagar, Sep. 25 (PTI): Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Wednesday asked the officials to focus on promotion of tourism in the state and not on construction of new assets.
Chairing a review meeting of the department here, Khandu said most of the assets under the tourism department were created without considering their feasibility and through individual-centric schemes.
He expressed concern that the department has not been able to substantially increase tourist footfall over the years in spite of the tourism potential of the state.
Reiterating the state government’s decision to do away with engineering wings of all non-engineering departments such as Tourism, he said, one of the main reasons for the department of not being able to lure tourists is due to its main focus on construction of assets.
He asked the officials of the department to focus on its core activity, which is promotion of tourism in the state, and leave construction work to the engineering department, an official statement quoted him as saying.
“We have created many assets across the state, of which most are lying useless and have decayed. We are not going to tolerate such wastage of public money. It is up to the department officials to ensure it,” he said.
Regarding assets lying defunct in various places, Khandu advised the tourism department officials to find out whether the assets could be leased out to other departments such as Forest, PWD and PHE.
He sought detailed reports on the feasibility of the projects that are yet to be completed.
The state government would provide funds for the projects to be completed only if the assets could be used profitably, the chief minister said.
The Centre’s focus is on developing tourism in the North East and therefore the number of tourists visiting Arunachal Pradesh is expected to increase drastically in the coming years, the chief minister said.
Therefore the attitude of the local people towards the tourists must change, he said.
He also asked the district tourism officers (DTOs) to create awareness among the people on etiquettes and hospitality.
Citing the example of Tawang, where the tourist footfall is much more than any other places in the state, Khandu said, tourists visit the place not only because of its scenic beauty but also because of the attitude of the local people.
Though all districts are unique and have something different to offer, the hospitality of local people, their behavior and easy access attracts tourists more, the statement quoted him as saying.
“We have to work on creating awareness in a big way,” he said.
Khandu also emphasized on taking along all stakeholders such as tour operators, adventure sports enthusiasts, bloggers, hoteliers and online agencies, for boosting tourism in the state.
He pointed out that the department alone cannot succeed in promoting Arunachal as a much-sought destination unless all stakeholders work together in tandem.
He asked the officials of the tourism department of the state to make sure that all wayside amenities have modern facilities.
Khandu also called for focus on promoting homestays and slowly build up to switch over to high-end tourism in a few years.
“We need to approach and work out with big groups like Taj Hotels for investing in the state that will pave way for high-end tourism,” he said.
Tourism Minister Nakap Nalo too expressed concern over majority of assets of the department lying defunct and in dilapidated condition.
While endorsing the chief minister’s view that rampant approval and construction of assets must be stopped, he emphasized that construction of all assets under the Center’s Swadesh Darshan program must be completed within time.