With hills and mountains dotting the landscape of North Eastern region, the Centre plans to promote the region as an ‘adventure tourism’ destination to increase the flow of tourists, particularly foreign tourists, said Union minister of state for tourism K Chiranjeevi.
“We know not all the roads are in good condition in the region. But not all tourists complain this as many like adventure tourism. The region can be a great destination for adventure tourism. If we can promote the region as an adventure tourism destination before the world, we can surely attract foreign tourists in the region,” said Chiranjeevi at the three day ‘International Tourism Mart’ which concluded here on Sunday.
The actor-turned politician minister is hopeful that flow of foreign tourist into the region will increase by 20 per cent in next 2 years and by 100 per cent by next 7-8 years, although that sounded very unrealistic. The region registered 59,000 foreign tourists in 2011, out of 6.6 lakh tourists that visited the country in the same year.
Having reined the world of cinema for many years, Chiranjeevi said he would surely use his contacts in the film industry to also promote the North Eastern region as a film shooting destination. “I will try to sit and convince the film fraternity to come and shoot here. I will try to learn what are the constraints on their part for shooting here and try to ease them,” he said.
He said he was happy with recent decision of the Union home ministry to lift restriction of two-months gap on re-entry of foreign national into the region. He said for past few years, the Union tourism ministry had been spending more than 10 per cent of its budget in North Eastern region. Chiranjeevi said in the 11th Plan Rs. 560 crore were spent on building tourism infrastructure in the region.
The ‘International Tourism Mart’ was first of its kind event to be held in North East and also first of its kind to focus on a specific region of India. Buyers and media delegates from around the world and from different regions of the country participated in the event and engaged in one-to-one meetings with sellers from the region and West Bengal.
Around 85 buyer delegates from 23 countries including Asean countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Japan, Korea, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK and the USA participated in the ‘Tourism Mart’. The overseas delegates included 55 tour operators, 9 hoteliers and 14 media representatives. Besides foreign delegates, there were approximately 70 domestic buyers from other parts of the country and 108 sellers from the nine participating states, which included West Bengal and Sikkim.