Shillong: Nagaland Tourism Minister, Temjen Imna Along has stressed the need for promoting “experiential tourism” at the community level in the eight northeastern states.
Speaking at a two-day symposium on Community Based Tourism in North East India at IIM Shillong on Thursday, Along highlighted the importance of “experiential tourism” at the community level, as tourism cannot function in a standalone manner.
The symposium was organised by the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research and Analysis, IIM- Shillong.
“Experience through tourism should be the focus and the North Eastern Region should give the experience to tourists from other states and other countries,” the Nagaland Tourism minister said.
Noting that most of the destinations in the North Eastern Region are yet to be explored, Along said, “In order to experience seamless tourism, linkages should be made and multi-ethnic culture should be promoted.”
“Things have changed drastically in the last 10 years, and with time, better connectivity across the Northeastern states has changed the tourism scenario,” he pointed out referring to the infrastructural developments in the region.
Echoing the Nagaland Minister, Financial Adviser to the North Eastern Council (NEC), Gaigongdin Panmei underscored the need to sensitise the people at the village level about Community Based Tourism in terms of infrastructure, standardisation of certain food menus, improvement in presentation and packaging, and aggressive marketing of local cuisines among other important parameters.
Stressing on the need for a common tourism policy for the region, Panmei said, “The need of the hour is to develop a matrix for circuits across all eight northeastern states.”
Panmei highlighted that on the basis of the World Bank Group study and various other inputs and impressions available, five segments have been identified for special focus namely, cultural tourism, adventure tourism, nature tourism, agro-tourism, health tourism.
He also mentioned that a common registration process for tourists travelling to northeast should be initiated so that the traveler should feel comfortable in planning the travel.
In his inaugural address, the Director of IIM Shillong, Prof. D.P. Goyal highlighted that government agencies and all tourism stakeholders should work in convergence.
“For a seamless tourist experience, the pain points should be removed and suitable strategies should be developed for promoting Destination North East,” he said.