Saturday, March 2, 2024

Wansuk seeks increased Central assistance

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From Our Special Correspondent

 New Delhi: Rajya Sabha MP from Meghalaya, Wansuk Syiem, on Tuesday sought additional Central assistance for development of tourism in the Hill State.

Speaking through a Special Mention in the Upper House, Syiem said that Meghalaya with its rich tourism potential should get maximum budgetary support from the Ministry of Tourism. All official reports along with the one submitted by INTACH also supported the state’s demand and rich potential for tourism, she said.

According to a study, the number of tourists, both domestic and international, heading for the North East has gone up dramatically. Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland have notched 20-29 per cent rise in foreign tourists while Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have registered 36-41 per cent increase in domestic travelers this time.

The number of tourists visiting Meghalaya is also one of the highest, the study said.

Over the last few years, attractive travel packages coupled with easing of the protected area permit (PAP) which was required for foreign tourists to proceed to Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram has led to the rise in number of visitors to these states. Many such tourists also include places like Cherrapunji and Shillong in their itinerary, the study added.

Yet another study attributed this trend to the fact that the North East is still a virgin territory for most travellers. There is also the popular perception that these destinations are now safer.

The region may be sparse on luxury accommodation but it offers a budget accommodation which is an important draw, the study added.

According to an industry watcher, government sponsored concessions – leave travel allowance (LTA) for those travelling to the Northeast for example – has contributed to the growing number of domestic travellers in the region. Government officials are entitled to flight tickets if they travel to the region.

Wansuk said that with all the advantages, Meghalaya can get a real boost in tourism. This will also help in earning the much desired revenue and offer large scale employment to locals, she added.

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