New Tourism Policy: Nagaland As ‘green Destination’ - Eastern Mirror
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

New Tourism Policy: Nagaland as ‘green destination’

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Apr 06, 2024 10:59 pm
New Tourism Policy
A file photo of Pochury community demonstrating millets cultivation at a event. (EM Images)

KOHIMA — The state Tourism department is looking to project Nagaland as a ‘green destination’ as part of its plan to turn tourism into a full-fledged industry. This, along with other goals, was highlighted in the Nagaland Tourism Policy, 2024 launched in March this year.

In an interaction with Eastern Mirror, Director of Tourism, Veyielo Doulo revealed that the new tourism policy integrates 70% of inputs from the Ministry of Tourism’s guidelines and incorporates inputs from stakeholders as well.

He said that prior to drafting the new policy, the department invited suggestions and inputs through social media, receiving feedback from various stakeholders and agencies.

Approved by the state cabinet, the new policy supersedes the previous State Tourism Policy that was in place since 2014.

New Tourism Policy
A file photo of a Naga Tribe demonstrating harvest of crops at an event. (EM Images)

The director said that the new policy addresses all the important points and aspects of tourism, and expressed hope that it would boost the tourism sector in the state.

According to the policy document provided to this newspaper, the State Department of Tourism was established in 1981, marking the beginning of a steady growth in the sector.

The number of domestic tourist over the past few years ranged from 97,000 to 125,000 annually, while the number of foreign tourists is approximately 2,000 to 5,000.

Recognising the significance of tourism for socio-economic development, the state government designated it as a ‘priority sector’ under the State Industrial Policy of Nagaland in 2000, it said.

Admitting that Nagaland still has a long way to go in terms of developing tourism as an industry, the department noted that the state has its own constraints due to the general perception regarding law and order situation and security. Though marketing and promotional measures can partly prevail over the perceived image of the state, it is ultimately the visitors’ experiences that matter, it added.

Blend of tradition and modernity

As per the new policy, the Tourism department strives to promote tourism activities that have minimal negative impact on the environment, culture and heritage of Nagaland, while maximising the positive socio-economic benefits for local communities.

The other area is to improve and expand the tourism infrastructure, including transportation networks, accommodation facilities, tourist information centres, sanitation and waste management system.

Interestingly, the department stated that it aims to integrate vernacular architecture into all tourism assets and infrastructural projects to reflect Naga architecture and heritage, fostering sustainable design by way of collaborating with tribal hohos to gather traditional architectural designs that represent each tribe’s unique identity.

The policy said the department would ensure that all new tourism infrastructures, such as lodges, cultural centres and rest areas incorporate traditional Naga architecture. It further stated that it would maintain a balance between modern amenities and preserving the authenticity of the architectural designs.

The department will also encourage the development and promotion of diverse tourism products and experiences in Nagaland, it added.

Community involvement

The new tourism policy strives to involve local communities in the planning, development and management of tourism activities, ensuring their active participation and equitable distribution of benefits.

Through this, human resource development and skill enhancement initiatives will be provided to local residents, tourism industry professionals and service providers, to enhance their skills and knowledge in tourism management, hospitality and customer service.

One of the department’s main objectives is to preserve and protect Nagaland’s natural and cultural heritage sites and traditional villages.

Another focus area, it said, is to foster collaboration among various stakeholders, including government agencies, tourism industry associations, local communities, NGOs and private sector enterprises, to create a unified approach towards tourism development and management in Nagaland.

Promotion strategies

The new tourism policy envisages developing effective marketing strategies to promote Nagaland as a unique tourist destination through various mediums such as digital platforms, tourism fairs, cultural festivals and travel trade events.

Under this policy, the Tourism department plans to establish and enforce quality standards for tourism services and facilities, including accommodations, tour operators, guides and transportation providers. Safety, hygiene and professionalism in the tourism industry will be the priority for the promotion and marketing of tourism.

Synergy and collaboration

Nagaland’s tourism policy rests upon the basic principle of synergy and collaboration of various stakeholders, defined in the policy as ‘guiding principles.’ Based on this, at the institutional level, a framework has to be evolved which is government-led, private-sector driven and community-welfare oriented.

“All infrastructural developmental works related to tourism projects of any kind should be taken up in a well-planned and thought-out manner taking into consideration the viability and sustainability of the structure in a particular environment,” it elaborated.

The policy advocates for effective linkages and close coordination with all allied departments such as Environment and Forest, Art and Culture, Home, and others.

The department also plans to provide assistance to promote entrepreneurship within the local communities and provide a conducive environment for public and private sectors collaboration and investments through facilitation.

The vision

In the new policy, the Tourism department aims to portray Nagaland as a sustainable, community-centred tourist destination that celebrates the state’s culture and preserves its natural beauty.

Outlining inclusive tourism development that contributes to the local economy and social prosperity from the grassroots level, it also focuses on offering a niche and special experiences tailored to discerning travellers seeking unique and authentic encounters.

It further envisions creating Nagaland as a ‘Green destination’ and to work towards afforestation and preservation of the varied traditional flora and fauna.

The policy stated that the department endeavours to position Nagaland as a prime destination for nature and culture-based tourism and a key sector in the state’s economy. This includes improving and developing key tourism products and developing quality tourism infrastructure and facilitation services.

To redefine Nagaland’s tourism landscape, the state has a strategic focus in place for promoting village and rural tourism, as well as homestays in remote areas and small settlements, in order to showcase its abundant natural and cultural treasures to visitors.

In this regard, the establishment of Village Tourism Development Boards in rural areas is expected to play a pivotal role in driving community-led tourism efforts and fostering sustainable growth.

(This is the first in a series of reports on the Nagaland Tourism Policy, 2024)

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Apr 06, 2024 10:59:04 pm
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