By Our Reporter
SHILLONG, Nov 20: The 11th edition of the International Tourism Mart is set to kickstart in Shillong from Tuesday.
It is an annual event which is held in one state of the Northeast on a rotation basis. The Ministry of Tourism is organising the three-day event.
The objective is to provide a bigger platform to the stakeholders from the region to interact with their counterparts from other parts of the country and abroad.
The other objectives are to create awareness on the Northeast’s tourism potential and highlight its rich biodiversity, unique tourism products and intangible heritage including local traditions, dance forms, arts, handicrafts and handlooms to domestic and international audiences.
The International Mart is going to be a unique event. It has been planned as a Green Event by adopting low carbon options on the lines of the action points formulated by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for the implementation of Mission LiFE, sensitising the tourism stakeholders and generating greater awareness on its objectives.
There will be no use of SUP (single use plastic). A digital and paperless route will be followed while a tree plantation drive will be undertaken.
The event is scheduled to be inaugurated by Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and DoNER, G Kishan Reddy and will be attended by Tourism ministers of all NE states, senior officials and heads of tourism and hospitality associations.
The event will include an exclusive session dedicated to business meetings between local stakeholders and domestic & international buyers. The eight NE states will share the updates on new destinations and new opportunities. Knowledge sessions and panel discussions with panelists from government and private sectors will deliberate on the advances and development of connectivity in the region.
Air connectivity in the Northeast increased tremendously in the last few years. At present, there are more than 16 airports providing accessibility to tourist destinations in the region. The Ministry of Tourism has collaborated with the Ministry of Civil Aviation under their RCS-UDAN Scheme. As part of this collaboration, 53 tourism routes have become operational, of which 10 are exclusively for the Northeast.
Development of tourism infrastructure and tourism promotion activities in the Northeast has been one of the priorities of the Ministry of Tourism. Sixteen projects worth Rs 1,309 crore have been sanctioned for the states in the region under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
Also, 15 tourist destinations are being taken up for development under the revamped Swadesh Darshan Scheme 2.0 with an aim to develop sustainable and responsible destinations with a tourist and destination-centric approach. Under the PRASHAD Scheme, the ministry has sanctioned eight projects worth Rs 256.45 crore for integrated development of identified pilgrimage destinations in the region.
The ministry also sanctioned the development of 22 viewpoints at a cost of Rs 44.44 crore to provide world-class infrastructure and related services for highway network viz, commercial spaces, logistic parks, and wayside amenities. Many of the projects sanctioned under SD 1.0 and PRASHAD Schemes have been already completed and dedicated to the nation.