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Double tourist inflow, Sahay urges northeastern states

Assam,Business/Economy, Tue, 10 Apr 2012 IANS

Guwahati, April 10 (IANS) Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay on Tuesday asked the northeastern states to step up their efforts to bring in more foreign and domestic tourists to the region.


The tourism minister also floated the idea of promoting the tourism potentials of the entire northeast region as a whole and asked the regional office of the India Tourism Development Corporation to rope in Bollywood personalities as "brand ambassadors" if required, to promote the tourism potentials of the region to the outside world.


"About 70 lakh domestic and foreign tourists visit various tourism destinations of the northeast region every year. However, it is a very negligible figure compared to other states of the country," he said and asked all the states to double up the tourist inflow.


The minister was in Guwahati on Tuesday to review various tourism projects and plans with all the state representatives in the region as well as with various stakeholders of the tourism sector.


The union minister also inaugurated the state's first five star category luxury river cruise - M.V. Mahabahu on the river Brahmaputra. The luxury river cruise built in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode at a cost of over Rs.26 crore will start operation from tomorrow.


Sahay also informed that the Government of India has hired the services of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to make a Northeast Tourism Destinations Action Plan and added that upon completion, this action plan will be the road map for development of the tourism sector in the region.


"The tourism potentials of the region are being talked often in the world market. We are being inquired by international tour operators about how to visit the northeast. So there is a need to market the potentials of the region to the world market," he said.


"Besides, the northeastern states are the most clean, hygienic and pollution free in the entire Himalayan region. This clean, hygienic and pollution-free environment of the region itself can be the brand identity of northeast tourism," he pointed out.


Sahay further informed that the ministry is planning to make a documentary film on the tourism potentials of the region, which would be marketed abroad.


Sahay also asked all the state governments in the region to take up tourism and political and economic agenda and said that his ministry would extend all possible help in this regard. "I have also asked the states to make their Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) regarding developing of tourist destinations in each state and the ministry is going to bear the cost of the DPRs," he said.


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