Northeast has potential to become global tourism hotspot — Yepthomi
Our Correspondent Kohima, Feb. 24 (EMN): The advisor to Tourism, Art and Culture, H Khehovi Yepthomi on Monday stated that Northeast has the potential to become one of the major hotspots for tourism, not just in India but in the world, as it is ‘a haven for tourists who yearn for beauty, adventure and excitement’.
He was speaking at the inaugural session of the first North East India Tour Operators (Neito) Meet, organised by the department of Tourism, Government of Nagaland on February 24 at East-Gate hotel in Kohima.
Yepthomi stated that tourism has become a major industry in Northeast India—boosting the economy, as it employs thousands of people and enriching businesses. It also pays for important public services such as education and law enforcement, he said.
The advisor informed that tourism had generated 9.2% of India’s GDP in 2018, supporting 42.637 million jobs, and is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 6.9%, thereby contributing up to 9.9% of India’s GDP.
He shared that tour operators play a key role in tourism sector, as they are the ‘image builders of the country’.
“The success of many developed and developing nations as tourist destinations depend heavily on a tour operator’s ability to attract tourists, development and promotion of tourism plant, diversification of tourism product and their social responsibilities to develop a remote and backward area,” he stated.
“We are at a juncture where the human race is faced with many problems and environmental crisis which is threatening,” he said and asserted that ‘we can promote environmental tourism, which can be beneficial and sustainable at the same time’.
He stated that the purpose of the programme was to have ‘better coordination and understanding, building relationship, promotion of Northeast states to outside world and doing business through B2B (business-to-business)’.
Tour operator representatives from the Northeast states also shared their views saying that there are many things in the region that cannot be found elsewhere in the country. “We are naturally hospitable people and since the NE is unique, we have something different to offer and we should make use of it,” one of them shared.
Arijit Purkayastha, an advisor to Neito, affirmed that its objectives were to place Northeast India on the global tourism map and to encourage all bonafide tour operators of the region to apply for approval from the Ministry of Tourism.
Martha R Ritse, additional secretary of Tourism, stated that Northeast as a whole is like a “mini-India” with its rich cultural and natural heritage; and has aptly become ‘our unique selling point’.
“Our festivals and rich culture are slowly getting world recognition, our region has been declared as a natural biodiversity hotspot, which needs to be properly monitored and tapped,” she said.
Director of Tourism, Akhale Vizol mentioned that the meet was organised to create a stronger, healthier relation in the business environment, and for growth of tourism in Northeast states in the right manner. “This meet aims to bring tour operators to discuss the roles and challenges and to bring a strong forum that will foster closer relationship and enable each one to strengthen business thereby increasing the overall market in NE states,” she shared.