Meghalaya: Conrad inaugurates cottages by scenic Umiam Lake

SHILLONG: Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Wednesday inaugurated the Lake View Cottages and Orchid Lake Cottages near the scenic Umiam Lake constructed under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

The chief minister said that a focused approach to boost potential tourism sector would pay dividend for the State and its economy and thanked the Ministry of Tourism and Union Minister A.J Alphons for extending support to develop tourism infrastructure in Meghalaya.

“We can reap rich dividends by investing and developing tourism. For every rupee that is spent in this sector, the return will be hundred fold, which will have direct bearing on our economy,” the Chief Minister said.

He said that the government has adopted a systematic approach to develop tourism by taking an initiative to develop and package the unique selling point of a particular destination in the State. “We want to build a positive campaign to promote our destinations and invite tourist to experience the culture, nature and the climate of Meghalaya,” he said.

Talking about the diversity of the tribes in Meghalaya, the chief minister said that the government had envisioned developing heritage villages in different destinations to enable the tourist to experience the unique culture, traditions and music of Meghalaya.

He informed that the central government was extending all support for developing connectivity to different tourism destinations, which would facilitate tourism in the State. “We are engaging with different airlines to start direct air connectivity from Delhi and Kolkatta and if this happens it will be a huge boost to tourism. Likewise, if there is air connectivity from neighbouring countries, Meghalaya being the nearest hill state will immensely benefit,” he added.

Tourism Minister Metbah Lyngdoh informed that there was growth in tourism sector and all efforts to further boost tourism were in the pipeline. “We are fortunate to have been blessed with splendid natural beauty. So our focus has been to ensure that the infrastructure and amenities are put in place,” Lyngdoh said.

Secretary Tourism, Government of India Yogendra Tripathy said, “The growth of tourism in Northeast is more than the national average in the past few years and Ministry of Tourism is giving adequate focus to tap the potential of tourism in Northeast through different schemes specific to Northeast as well as other schemes of the ministry.”

The project “Development of North East Circuit: Umiam (Lake View) – U Lum Sohpetbneng- Mawdiangdiang – Orchid Lake Resort” was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in July 2016 for Rs. 99.13 Crores.

Under this project the Ministry has developed facilities like Traditional Healing Centre, Tribal Rejuvenation Centre, Tourist Information Centre, Multipurpose Hall, Log Huts, Cafeteria, Sound and Light show, Souvenir Shops, Water Sports Zone, Zip Line, Canopy Walk, Trekking Routes, Cycling Track, Last Mile Connectivity, Caravan Parking, Public Toilets, and Solid Waste Management.

The efforts of Ministry have shown positive results and the Foreign tourist arrivals in the region has shown an upward trend over the years.

he region received a total of 1.69 lakh foreign tourist visits during 2017 as against 1.45 lakh in 2016 registering a growth of 16.7% over 2016. The Domestic Tourist Visits reached to 95.47 lakhs in the year 2017 against 77.71 lakhs registering impressive double digit growth of 22.8% over 2016.

The increased number of tourists in turn has created better employment opportunity for the local population in the region.

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