New Tourism Policy: Emphasis On Synergy In Infrastructure Development In Nagaland - Eastern Mirror
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Nagaland

New Tourism Policy: Emphasis on synergy in infrastructure development in Nagaland

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By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Apr 07, 2024 10:50 pm
New Tourism Policy
A file photo of a Morung at Kisama Naga Heritage Village. (EM Images)

KOHIMA — The new Nagaland Tourism Policy 2024 places special emphasis on synergy in the policies and programmes of all concerned departments and agencies involved in infrastructure development.

The policy states that tourism plans should not be seen primarily as the responsibility of the Tourism department alone but as a multi-sectored activity involving different segments of the government, policymakers, legislators, bureaucrats and common people who come in touch with tourists in various ways.

It also stressed the need to institute, improve and augment the organisational structure since the tourism industry requires state and local level planning, provision of infrastructure, regulation, marketing and management of tourist infrastructure and attractions.

Towards this endeavour, the tourism policy will address the organisational structure at three levels.

At the apex level, a tourism advisory council/Nagaland tourism council will be constituted to act as a ‘think tank.’ The council will be headed by the minister-in-charge of Tourism while the other members will include the minister/advisor of PWD (Roads and Bridges), Rural Development, Public Health Engineering, Forest and Environment, Horticulture, Agriculture, Tribal Affairs, Art and Culture, Industries, School Education, Urban Development and Municipal Affairs, the chief secretary and the commissioner of Nagaland, and any representative member from the industry.

The next is the departmental level, which will have a monitoring and guidance committee under the chairmanship of the administrative head of department (Tourism). The other members will include administrative heads of various other departments.

The third level is the constitution of the district coordination committee in every district, headed by the deputy commissioner, with members from the Municipal Affairs/town committees, village councils/VDBs, concerned departments and organisations involved in tourism activities.

The committee will regulate the operation and management of all tourist infrastructure and advise the government of developmental activities as per the capacity of places recommended.

Creation, strengthening of tourist information offices

In order to achieve the policy’s goals, strengthening the departmental organisation with the creation of few posts, particularly at the managerial and execution levels, was stressed. Tourist information offices will also be established/ strengthened in Delhi, Mumbai, Shillong and Guwahati in addition to the one in Kolkata, and whenever Nagaland Houses are established in metropolitan cities.

The policy also gives a scope for district tourism offices in all the districts for coordination at the district level, whereby the district tourist officers will take full responsibility for identifying the tourist spots in their respective districts.

An interesting feature of the new policy is to constitute a ‘Research Cell-cum- Registration Cell’ in the Department of Tourism. This cell will gather tourist-related information and statistics to prepare a data bank and to give advice to the department from time to time, as well as to see to the registration of all activities under the Nagaland Registration of Tourist Trade Act.

The department will also work in close coordination with the Nagaland Tourism Association (NTA) as the representative members of the industry in the state.

Meanwhile, the management of isolated attractions such as tourist rest houses, wayside amenities, waterfalls, picnic spots, etc., with minimum infrastructure, will be vested in the hands of local organisations.

Additionally, the policy underscores that the deputy commissioners must ensure that some of the developmental activities of tourism will also be incorporated in the district plan fund and in the programmes of RD, Roads and Bridges, PHED, Power department etc.

Development of tourism infrastructure and services

In the context of tourism infrastructure and services, the state aims to ensure quality standards in hotels and lodges through government approval and regular inspections. The Tourism department also endeavours to have a list of government approved/registered hotels and lodges under the State Tourist Trade Act, and these hotels are to function within the guidelines laid down by the government.

The approved hotels will feature in all the publications of the department, in print as well as electronic media in India and abroad, and will be eligible for incentives announced by the government from time to time.

Homestays or special paying guest schemes will be introduced in selected areas for affordable and hygienic accommodation. Selection of such places will be based on the need and tourist potential of the place.

As per the policy, private entrepreneurs, including those from outside the state, will be encouraged to invest in tourism infrastructure through joint ventures for setting up and management of quality and standard tourist infrastructure.

The Tourism department will oversee and clear proposals for accommodation infrastructure by private entrepreneurs to ensure adherence to standards. Besides, tourist lodges in districts and sub-divisions will not be leased out to any external sources or agencies.

In regards to tour operators and travel agents, special permits will be issued to registered tour operators and travel agents by the department to promote tourism within the state.

These operators will receive support from the state government for accommodation, transportation, travel permits, and liaising with districts, and will be eligible for all state government incentives.

Nagaland Registration of Tourist Trade Act

The introduction of the Nagaland Registration of Tourist Trade Act is another feature that aims to regulate and promote tourism in the state. Individuals or entities involved in tourism-related activities will have to register with the department to ensure coordinated and regulated development of tourism.

To address the transport infrastructure for tourism in Nagaland, the policy envisages developing a robust road network and ensuring adequate road transportation options like coaches and taxis for comfortable tourist movement.

It also suggests the possibility of procuring high-end tourist vehicles and minibuses on a subsidised model to increase the local fleet while also providing employment opportunities.

Further, to address issues like inconsistent services and high fares, collaboration with stakeholders is being stressed to establish competitive pricing policies and regulate practices among existing taxi operators.

Development of inland waterways for tourism

With Nagaland having a vast network of rivers and water bodies, developing inland waterways for tourism in Nagaland would offer a wide range of opportunities.

“It is a sustainable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly way to develop tourism in the state by contributing to the local economy through tourism-related services, constructing essential infrastructure, and other scopes including improving access to remote areas of Nagaland, promoting responsible tourism practices, creating jobs and promoting cultural exchange between Nagaland and other parts of India and the world,” it stated.

Towards this end, the department will aim to identify suitable rivers or water bodies for developing inland waterways as a unique mode of tourism transportation and, at the same time, collaborate with engineering and environmental experts to design sustainable and eco-friendly waterway routes and introduce guided boat tours to showcase natural beauty, tribal settlements and cultural sites along the water routes.

Tourist felicitation facilities, barrier-free design approach

For ease and convenience of tourists and visitors, the policy also shed light on setting up proper tourist felicitation facilities at all state’s entry and exit points, including airport, railway and bus stations.

It will also be the state’s policy to provide transport services, information counters, telephone and internet facilities etc., which will contribute to generating a tourist-friendly atmosphere.

Another feature of the policy is the barrier-free design approach for people with disabilities and older persons, as it has been observed that they are now becoming a growing group of consumers of travel, sports and other tourism-oriented products and services.

Inter-state tourism circuits, single window system

The department also eyes for the development of inter-state tourism circuits to link important places of other states across the borders of Nagaland. In due course, networking with tourism promotion agencies in government as well as private sector in neighbouring states will be strengthened.

Realising the importance of information technology (IT), henceforth all tourism related processes of the department will be integrated under a single platform – Nagaland Tourism Department Single Window System (NTSW), which will facilitate and monitor all tourism related activities in the state through a single online mobile app-based integrated end-to-end platform.

This will facilitate the registration of businesses related to tourism, easy access to information for plans and trips by tourists, ensuring accurate tourism data, and providing an  e-Governance solution for the department, among other scopes.

Besides, the department aims to actively utilise social media to present inspirational, tourism-related content to visitors and encourage social media engagement for marketing strategy and promotion.

Further, the state will also promote important fairs and festivals and support important tourism-related events and major travel marts and exhibitions organised in the state for promotion of tourism.

Also read: New Tourism Policy: Nagaland as ‘green destination’

6150
By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Apr 07, 2024 10:50:44 pm
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