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Tourism dept focuses on home stay, river cruise

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Guwahati: Assam Tourism Development Corporation has decided to promote “home stay” concept besides developing infrastructure in ghats and jetties along the Brahmaputra to give tourists a better experience of river cruise.

“This year we have an investment plan of Rs two crore for promoting the concept of home stay. A number of locations have been identified for implementing the scheme,” ATDC Managing Director Anurag Singh told reporters here on Thursday.

“The idea behind the concept is to provide foreigners an opportunity to stay with local families and have a first-hand experience of local tradition, culture, and cuisines,” he said.

There was also a plan to give a boost to local economy in places like Majuli Island, Kaziranga, Pobitora and other popular destinations besides promoting places which did not feature in the known tourism circuit, he said.

ATDC is also taking up infrastructure development of ghats and jetties along the Brahmaputra River. “The Brahmaputra being the lifeline of Assam, we are giving special attention to develop the river cruise circuit,” Singh said.

He said tickets for a Brahmaputra river cruise on the M V Mahabaahu, country’s biggest cruise ship launched in April, was fully booked for the next two and half years.

Singh said, “the response to M V Mahabaahu has been spontaneous and it has completed two trips in November with full capacity. We plan two trips each month between November and April-May dry season.”

Built on a public-private-partnership, the luxury cruise sails from Guwahati to Nimatighat in Jorhat and back with tourists getting scopes to visit places like Kaziranga, Tezpur and other spots, he said.

“With development of ghats and jetties along the way, we can organise tailor-made visits,” Singh said.

The ATDC managing director said that the first ever Assam International Tourism Carnival was slated for 2013. “We plan to host it in Guwahati in January,” Singh said. (PTI)

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