Inaugurated by Assam Governor JB Patnaik, the International Tourism Mart in Guwahati by the Ministry of Tourism proved to be a huge success and achieved its objective of creating a buzz about the regions’ tourism potential among participants. The three-day event was attended by over 80 delegates from 23 countries including ASEAN countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Japan, Korea, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, U.K. and USA. Apart from these, high profile tourism officials, including the Deputy Tourism Minister from Lao PDR, and Executive Heads of National Tourism Organisations from Cambodia, Singapore, Bangladesh and Bhutan attended the Mart. Moreover, representatives of various travel and tourism associations of India graced the occasion.
Addressing a press conference after inaugurating the Mart, Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi said that the North-Eastern region has immense untapped tourism potential and the sector will be developed with investment by the Centre very soon. “We have to develop quality infrastructure and the main focus should be on adventure tourism,” he opined, and added that his ministry has identified hotel management projects in these states and the unused airports and helipads will be made operational soon to facilitate tourism. While the North East received only about 60,000 tourists out of the country’s 66 lakh foreign tourists during 2011, the government has set a target of increasing these numbers by 100 per cent in the next seven to eight years, the minister added.
The post ‘Tourism Mart’ familiarisation tours to the North-East states organised for overseas delegates would help in giving them firsthand knowledge of the destinations to help them effectively promote these destinations, the Minister opined.
Besides foreign delegates, there were more than seventy buyers from other parts of the country and 100 sellers from the nine participating states who explored all possible business opportunities in the tourism sector of the region.
Speaking during the valedictory function of the Mart, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi candidly admitted that the state has failed to sell itself in the tourism market well. He hoped that the tourism mart will change the wrong concepts about the North East.
Anurag Singh, Managing Director, Assam Tourism Development Corporation, shared that the state government is very focused on promoting its overall tourism portfolio. “Assam is no longer just about the one -horned Rhino or Majuli. The government is trying to focus on other interesting attractions like the various tribes and their colourful cultures,” he said.
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