Better connectivity, coupled with an aggressive marketing campaign would help double the number of tourist arrival in the Northeastern region in the next five years, Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Tourism, Government of India said at Guwahati on Wednesday.
“Connectivity to the Northeast, be it rail, road or air, has increased manifold in the past few years. Several new destinations are being soon connected by air in the next few months. We are now also looking building inter-regional people to people contact between Northeast India and ASEAN countries. With an aggressive marketing campaign, doubling the arrival of both foreign and domestic tourists to the Northeastern region in the next five years does not look difficult,” Verma said.
Over 1.6 lakh foreign and 77 lakh domestic tourists had visited Assam and the other Northeastern states during 2016, registering a 5.2 per cent increase over the previous year. “This year, the region has already registered a 15.8 per cent increase with less than one month to go,” she said.
Describing as “very encouraging and positive” the deliberations in the on-going three-day International Tourism Mart (ITM) for the Northeastern region that began here on Tuesday, Verma said the unique features of the region required special marketing campaigns. “While each of the eight Northeastern states have specific unique features, it is equally important to sell them as different special thematic packages like wildlife, adventure, eco-tourism ethnic tourism and cuisine,” she said.
“The ministry of tourism is now looking across the international borders for extending its marketing strategies for the Northeast. It is time to offer such tourists packages which can bring, say a tourist to Nepal also to the Northeast India. We are also looking at tie-ups with neighbouring countries, ASEAN and BIMSTEC members for inter-regional cooperation for tourism,” Verma said. Representatives from 29 countries which included government officials, tour operators, travel writers and media persons, are taking part in the three-day ITM at Guwahati that ends on Thursday.