TOURISM POTENTIAL IN THE NORTH EAST
The rich natural beauty, serenity and exotic flora and fauna of the North East region are invaluable resources for the development of eco-tourism. The region is endowed with diverse tourist attractions and each State has its own distinct features. These attractions and people of the region constitute the tourism resources at large. However, the facilities for stay, food, shopping and entertainment are either non-existent or mostly primitive in nature. In order to develop and promote tourism in the region the Ministry of Tourism has taken following steps: (a) Constitution of Task Force for the region- The report of the task force has recommended a number of measures for development of Tourism in the area. (b) Each year the Ministry of Tourism sanctions a number of Tourism Infrastructure projects and grants Central Financial Assistance to State Governments. The Ministry is also spending 10% of the Budget allocation on the development of tourism in the North Eastern region. (c) The Ministry of Tourism has recently opened a Chapter of Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management at Guwahati. The Guwahati Chapter provides part-time 16 months programme in "Diploma in Travel and Tourism Industry Management". (d) In pursuance with the announcement of the then Prime Minister of India, the Food Crafts Institute at Shillong is being upgraded to full fledged Hotel Management and Catering Institute. Rs. 40 million have been released for this during 1998-99. (e) To give wide publicity to North East Region, a video film on tourist attractions in the North East has been produced and is being screened by Air India in their flights. (f) North Eastern States are given a free booth in the world’s largest tourism fair ITB- Berlin. (g) Financial assistance for promotion of various fairs and festivals is being provided to North Eastern States every year and it will continue. (h) The theme for the Suraj Kund Mela-98 was the North Eastern States. (i) North Eastern States are being publicised through the Home Page of Ministry of Tourism on the Internet. (j) North Eastern States are given special focus in the Marketing Conference of Overseas Offices of the Ministry of Tourism. All Overseas Offices have been giving publicity to North Eastern States for promotion of tourism in the region. There are no restrictions on the visit of domestic tourists to Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura. However, domestic tourists to Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland have to be issued Innerline Permit from the State Government agencies, which can be easily obtained through Resident Commissioner/ Liasion Officer at Delhi, Calcutta, Guwahati and also at the entry points/ borders of these States. Although there are restrictions on visit of foreign tourists but these are progressively being relaxed. Restricted Area Permit for foreign tourists is no longer required for the States of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura. For the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland foreign tourists are allowed to visit important tourist circuits after obtaining specific permits for these circuits. Recently a Seminar, "Explore North East India- Conference on Tourism" from 5-7 February, 1999 was organised at Guwahati by ASSICHAM in association with Ministry of Tourism and the State Governments of North-Eastern States for the promotion and development of tourism in this region and also to explore the investment opportunities in the Tourism Sector. Under the National Action Plan for Tourism, 25 circuits and destinations have been identified for development through the joint efforts of Central and State Governments and the Private Sector. Amongst these, one of the circuit is Guwahati-Kaziranga-Shillong-Tawang. Besides, out of the Nineteen Pilgrim Centres identified for development, one is Kamakhya Temple complex in Assam. As a part of the policy for the diversification of...
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