Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Union Minister of State for Tourism KJ Alphons Thursday inaugurated the 7th International Tourism Mart at Prajna Bhavan and appealed travel and tourism industrialists to invest in Tripura and other Northeastern states.
“I appeal my friends from travel and tourism industry to invest in this state. There are elephants which move in herds of 20 to 22. Vultures are becoming extinct across the world. Here, they are seen in abundance. You can make vulture points and bring tourists to see them, set up tourist lodges, start investments through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). The state government will support you,” Biplab told a group of foreign and domestic tour operators who came to join the International Tourism Mart at Agartala.
In his speech, Chief Minister Deb said Tripura has potential in historical tourism at its sites like Unakoti in Unakoti district and Pilak in South Tripura, spiritual tourism at Tripura Sundari Temple in Gomati district etc. He said his government would provide land, security and all other support to investors who would set up tourism initiatives in the state in PPP model.
Hailing from Kerala, which is often termed ‘God’s own country’, Alphons said that Tripura is ‘God’s own paradise’ and he had visited the state earlier while on an election campaign to Mizoram.
“I felt it is truly God’s own paradise. People in Northeast India are hospitable, incredible, they have a legacy of music, tradition, dance, crafts and they are always smiling,” the Union Minister said.
He suggested to invest in hotels, give out land through a lease to investors, revive a defunct airport at Kailashahar in northern Tripura to give access to Unakoti – an 8th-century rock cut sculpture there along with other steps for developing the tourism sector in the northeast region.
Urging to increase foreign tourists in the country, Alphons said, “India registered 19.2 per cent increase in foreign tourists visiting the country last year. It has alone contributed 7 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and has created 13.92 million jobs in the last 4 years. We want to double foreign tourists coming in our country.”
Union Tourism Secretary Rashmi Varma gave a brief introduction of country’s performance in the tourism sector in 2017 and said Tripura registered the highest number of foreign tourists in entire northeast region in the year.
A group of 53 foreign tours operating from 18 countries joined the tourism mart. These include Australia, Canada, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Nairobi, the Netherlands, Russia, South Africa and South Korea, Spain, Thailand, the United States of America and Bangladesh. Over 80 delegates from the travel and tourism industry of the northeast region and 200 delegates from Tripura joined the event.
Cultural troupes from different states of the northeast region performed at the inaugural session.
Last year, the event was held at Guwahati and earlier the marts were organized at Meghalaya and Manipur.