The Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad K Sangma, recently inaugurated the project “Development of North East Circuit: Umiam (Lake View) - U Lum Sohpetbneng- Mawdiangdiang - Orchid Lake Resort” implemented under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in presence of the Minister of Tourism, Government of Meghalaya, Metbah Lyngdoh, the Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Yogendra Tripathi, and the Chairman, Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation, Sanbor Shullai in Umiam. This is the first Swadesh Darshan project of Union Tourism Ministry in the state of Meghalaya.
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.
Development of Tourism in North Eastern Region is prime area of focus for the Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry has taken several initiatives for growth of domestic and international tourism in the region. One of the many challenges region faces in development of tourism is the absence of quality infrastructure, services and awareness about the array of tourism products region has to offer.
The Ministry is carrying out number of activities to handle the issues on above fronts. On one hand the Ministry has given great impetus to the tourism infrastructure in the region under its flagship schemes of Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD. The Ministry has sanctioned 16 projects for Rs. 1349.04 crores covering all North Eastern States under its schemes of Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD. The Ministry is also actively working with other Central Ministries like Mo/Culture, M/o DONER, M/o Road Transport and Highways, M /o Civil Aviation etc. for development of Tourism in the region. For promotion of North East region, the Ministry carries out special promotion in domestic and international markets highlighting regions diversity, tourism products and its rich culture. The Ministry of Tourism has also set up Hotel Managements and Food Craft Institutes for creating skilled manpower in tourism and hospitality sector in the North Eastern Region.
The efforts of Ministry have shown positive results and the Foreign tourist arrivals in the region has shown an upward trend over the years. The 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 per cent 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 per cent over 2016. The increased number of tourists in turn has created better employment opportunity for the local population in the region.
Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of the Ministry of Tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner. Under this scheme the Government is focussing on development of quality infrastructure in the country with objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors on one hand and on other hand fostering the economic growth. The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 74 projects worth projects for Rs. 5932.05 Crore to 30 States and UTs. 30 projects / major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year. 9 projects have been inaugurated as on date under the scheme.