'Government boosting tourism potential of northeastern states'
The government is taking several steps to boost the tourism potential of northeastern states and the Union Home Ministry is very supportive in this regard, Union Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma said here on Friday.
"Compared to 2016, the flow of foreign tourists visiting the northeastern states increased by 16.7 per cent last year while the domestic tourists visiting the region increased by 22.8 per cent," she said.
Verma was speaking at the 7th edition of the International Tourism Mart here, in which 52 foreign delegates from 18 countries are taking part.
The Indian government occasionally relaxes rules for foreign tourists on various permits and restrictions including Restricted Area Permit and Inner-Line Permit. However, these permits will not be issued for citizens of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
She said the government has been using various social and digital media to showcase the tourism potential of the country.
Under the Rs 5,600 crore "Swadesh Darshan" scheme, 67 projects are being implemented to develop selected tourist places with international standard facilities, Verma said.
Road-shows are also being organised in some countries to highlight the tourism potentiality of India and e-visa systems were introduced for the citizens of 166 countries, she said.
"Tourism is a seasonal affair in most parts of our country but in the picturesque northeastern region with abundant greenery, the tourism is a year-long affair. Tourists from abroad are affectionate to eco-tourism, adventure tourism besides observing wild animals and all these are available in the eight northeastern states."
Verma said rail and road connectivities have been improved a lot in the northeastern states. Brahmaputra river cruises and the tea gardens of Assam and other northeastern states would be helpful in attracting both foreign and domestic tourists.
Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki addressed the inaugural session of the mart here on Thursday evening.
As part of the event, an exhibition by Tourism Departments of the eight northeastern states including display of beautiful and valued handicrafts and handlooms is also organised to highlight the tourism significance of these states. - IANS