New Nagaland Tourism Policy: Towards Responsible Tourism And Empowering Communities - Eastern Mirror
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

New Nagaland Tourism Policy: Towards responsible tourism and empowering communities

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Apr 09, 2024 11:10 pm
Nagaland Tourism Policy
A file photo of tourists enjoying the local delicacies at a Morung in Kisama Naga Heritage village. (EM Images)

KOHIMA — Through the new Nagaland Tourism Policy, the state government aims to maintain a balance between economic prosperity and social responsibility by prioritising sustainability, environmental stewardship and inclusive development.

Recognising the importance of basic services at tourist destinations, the policy acknowledged the existing gaps in the state’s tourism sector and stressed the need for continued efforts to address them.

Among its commitments, the state pledged to uphold the guiding principles for responsible tourism outlined in the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism from 2002 and adhere to principles of economic responsibility, including assessing economic impacts prior to tourism development.

This entails prioritising forms of tourism that benefit local communities while minimising adverse effects on livelihoods.

Acknowledging that tourism may not always be suitable for local economic development, the state will actively seek to maximise local economic benefits by increasing linkages and reducing leakages within the tourism sector, as per the new policy.

Additionally, wherever feasible, tourism will be leveraged to assist in poverty reduction by adopting pro-poor strategies.

The policy also emphasises high-quality tourism products that enhance the unique attributes of each destination, respectful marketing strategies, fair and equitable business practices, and support for small, medium, and micro-enterprises within the tourism sector to ensure their sustainability and success.

Towards tourist hotspot

The Director of Tourism, Veyielo Doulo told Eastern Mirror that the department is committed to making Nagaland a tourist destination.

He asserted the need for synergy among all departments and stakeholders to transform the visions and policy into actions while also highlighting the significance of responsible tourism which would make the tourism in Nagaland a sustainable industry.

Furthermore, he noted the significance of the new policy as the state is set be hosting the 25th edition of the Hornbill Festival later this year.

Nagaland Tourism Policy
Visitors thronging the main arena at Kisama Naga Heritage village during the 24th edition of Hornbill Festival. (EM Images)

Social responsibility

Aligning with the Cape Town declaration, the state seeks to promote social responsibility and involve the local community in planning and decision-making in addition to providing capacity building. It also endeavours to make tourism an inclusive social experience and combat the sexual exploitation of human beings, particularly the exploitation of children.

In its approach, the policy emphasises the importance of sensitivity to the host culture, advocating for the maintenance and encouragement of social and cultural diversity. Furthermore, it endeavours to ensure that tourism plays a role in fostering improvements in health and education.

Environmental responsibility

In terms of environmental responsibility, the new policy underscores the necessity of assessing environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of tourist establishments and operations so that negative impacts are reduced.

It also advocates for sustainable use of resources, reduction of waste and overconsumption as well as sustainable management of natural diversity and restoration of ecosystems where necessary.

The policy calls for a careful consideration of the volume and type of tourism that the environment can support, to preserve vulnerable ecosystems and protected areas. To promote education and awareness for sustainable development among stakeholders and ensure best practices, it also called for consultations with environmental and conservation experts.

Further, by aligning with the Bhutan tourism model of ‘High Value, Low Volume,’ the policy aims to position Nagaland as an exclusive travel destination, focusing on quality over quantity.

Emphasising that tourism should be commercially profitable while also being environmentally, socially, and culturally responsible, the policy advocates for developing tourism destinations based on their carrying capacity and encourages the adoption of green practices across all tourist destinations.

Human resource development

Meanwhile, the new tourism policy advocates for providing employable skills to the youth in line with the opportunities in the market. With emphasis on human resource development, the state aims to provide training to ensure efficient service and management of tourist facilities.

Training programmes in fields such as customer service, hospitality and etiquette, tour guiding, language and communication skills, marketing and sales, destination management, cultural awareness, safety and emergency preparedness, sustainable tourism practices, leadership and management, and technology and digital skills, etc., were highlighted in the policy.

The policy noted that the sector provides extensive job opportunities and at the same time, underscored the need to for trained manpower to ensure a positive visitor experience.

Marketing and promotion

Highlighting that marketing and promotion are vital for attracting tourists, the policy suggests an aggressive marketing strategy, including producing various publicity materials, engaging in media advertising, and participating in tourism-related conferences and events.

It also recommended public relations efforts and introduces innovative schemes to host tourism-related events that contribute to the local economy such as organising familiarisation (FAM) tours for travel writers and agents from other states and countries, thereby increasing awareness and interest in the destination.

(This the fourth and final in a series of reports on Nagaland Tourism Policy, 2024)

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Apr 09, 2024 11:10:55 pm
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