NE India can be an ideal tourist destination post-Covid: Experts

Guwahati, Dec 20 (IANS) Due to its close proximity with five countries, unique culture and traditions besides picturesque beauty of its mountains and lush green landscapes, northeast India could be an ideal tourist destination post-Covid, experts and administrators said on the final day of the North East Festival (NEF) here on Sunday.
The two-day 8th edition of NEF concluded after setting the NE growth agenda as its priority with businessmen, administrators and experts expressing their strong confidence on the travel and tourism industry’s revival in post Covid situation, by showcasing potentials of the region.
Assam Tourism Secretary Razvee Hussain said that Covid-19 can be a blessing in disguise.
“All northeastern states can be a great tourism destination. Focus on tea tourism where old bungalows can get converted to boutique hotels. Experiencing the life of a tea planter here can be a tourist attraction. Chopper service availability from Guwahati to Kaziranga, Majuli etc will also help the tourism industry here,” he said.
Assam Tourism Department Director Deba Kumar Mishra said that focus on local tourism, more from domestic tourists, creatively planned projects for establishments of good tourism would attract and appeal more people.
Mishra said: “Northeast region shares borders of different countries and it is an incredible boon. Assam has ‘Chicken-Neck’ with West Bengal and five international frontiers along the eight northeastern states are best for tourism.
Stress on eco-cultural tourism, flourishing more local commodities, local lifestyle and food could boost the tourism industry.”
“One more major focus is in ‘Medical Tourism’. Need to welcome high level and leading tours from Mumbai, Telangana, Delhi and other big states. We are blessed with resources, we have to think with regional perspective,” the Director added.
Budget airliner Spicejet’s Chief Operating Officer (Sea Plane department) Santanu Kalita claimed that seaplanes can bring revolution in the tourism sector.
“Northeast is a God gifted and most beautiful natural land in India. We will see and reflect on the fly plan scheme, Guwahati to Kaziranga to Dima Hasao. We have sufficient eight months to set the fly plan scheme which will result in concern more in the act of flourishing of tourism,” Kalita said
North Eastern Council Adviser R. Lalrodingi, in his address in the valedictory session, said that the local people must get benefits from tourism.
Stressing on the creation of community based tourism, he said: “We must think straight and properly organise it. Good marketing is essential. One main factor to be highlighted is within the northeast area must have an operational area for more organised and systematic tourism. Let people learn more about their own region to speak more about their own region to prepare a good atmosphere for tourists.”
In the concluding session, NEF’s chief organiser Shyamkanu Mahanta said: “We need support at the initial stage in the tourism sector.”
He said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, huge gatherings were avoided and connected through Facebook and Youtube links of the NEF.
“We have to focus all NE states as tourist destinations for the growth of the regional tourism sector. The NEF is a festival of all eight NE states. Provided full support from the various governments, it will bring a massive change to the post Covid-19,” he added.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, his Tripura counterpart Biplab Kumar Deb and many other dignitaries virtually and physically attended the first day of the festival on Saturday and deliberated in the selective gatherings.

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