State tourist index jumps
DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 9
THE number of domestic and foreign tourists visiting the North Eastern Region states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, and Sikkim has been increasing steadily during the past three fiscal.For a land-locked and industrially deficient Nagaland, the projection about the prospects the tourism sector offer to the Naga tribes, is a boon worth utilizing. The tourism industry in the state is still nascent, with a marketing support that is only a few years old. However, thanks to intensive policy intervention, supported by strong publicity and marketing thrust on flagship events such as the annual Hornbill Festival, there are promises.
In the past three years alone, there has been significant interest in Nagaland from tourists particularly from the domestic population in the state as a tourist destination. It is confirmed now from official sources that the hilly northeastern state has shared in the 3% component growth with seven of her sister states tourism index during the years 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The changes are palpable, official data on tourism and policy imperatives show. For instance, from approximately 21,094 domestic visitors in 2010, more than 35,915 people from India visited the state in 2012. Official figures for year 2013 till December are yet to be completed.
Nonetheless, it is understood that the number of domestic and foreign tourists who visited India during the tourist seasons of 2013 would be even higher on the growth chartagain if Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi’s projection a few days ago is to be considered. The minister had said that there has been a growth of “3.0 percent” till January 2014 as compared to a growth of 2.6% registered in January 2013 of foreign tourists.
According to central official sources, 21,094 domestic travellers visited Nagaland in 2010, alongside approximately 1,132 foreign visitors. In 2011, the number of visitors increased to 25,391 (domestic tourists), and 2,080 (foreign tourists). Their number increased significantly in 2012, going up to 35,915 of domestic visitors and 2,489 foreign visitors who visited Nagaland during the tourist season.
The reason for the increase could be viewed from two perspectives, incentive and secondly, thrust initiative: the government pumping money into the north-eastern states to offset growing de-industrialization and regional unemployment is the first.
“The Ministry of Tourism seeks to promote seamless travel between States and basic infrastructure in the country in a holistic manner including NER,” the ministry had said in an update released to the media on Thursday.
The second is thrust initiative, proactive implementation from the state governments to offset domestic economic maladies such as insistent insurgency, chronic unemployment, and infrastructure bottlenecks.
In fact, the reason why the NE states could even be giving so much attention to “festivities” could merely be for political mileage by ruling governments. In the words of a young business professional Numen Debthnath in Dimapur: The government is working hard in the ‘festivities sector” but the reason is a little bit different, he told Eastern Mirror. The basic aim is to “divert or soften the attention of the public from other more important issues than Hornbills like UGs and corruption”, he explained.
Notwithstanding the twoplausible perspectives, it is true that ‘investments’ are being made in the infrastructure, and service sector. It has been found that during the fiscal 2012-2013, the North Eastern Region states were sanctioned Rs. 207.8055 crores with release of Rs. 77.1677 crores.
The illustration is perceptible. For instance, the government identified Dimapur as a ‘mega destination’ in 2012, and hence her development as a tourist Mega Destination. The state received Rs. 23.7045 crore, while a token amount of Rs. 1135.23 lakhs was released for the plan.
So far, the central government has ‘identified’ 51 tourism projects for Nagaland during the 11th five-year-plan, alongside other states in the country. Rs. 97.11 crore has been allocated to the state for their phased development.
The number is significant considering that Nagaland is second in the countrywide list. She is second only to Jammu & Kashmir (88 projects). Madhya Pradesh is third with 45 tourism projects, it is confirmed.