MoT to unveil Tourism Master Plan for N E states by month end

Master Plan to be implemented in three phases at a sum of Rs 3,600 cr
By Anish V Punnackattu | Guwahati
Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Govt of India, along with North Eastern Council (NEC), will unveil the Integrated Tourism Master Plan for the North Eastern states soon. The draft Master Plan developed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and submitted to NEC is currently under the consideration of MoT. According to Deepa Laskar, Regional Director (North-East), India Tourism, the Master Plan is expected to be in the public domain by the end of this month.

Speaking at a road show organised by Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDONER) and North East Industrial Development Finance Corporation (NEDFi) in partnership with ADTOI in Guwahati on July 7, 2011, Laskar said that the Tourism Master Plan will provide much needed direction to the future tourism infrastructure development in the region. “The Master Plan will mainly focus on developing the region into a quality and not quantity oriented tourism destination. Stress will be laid on Nature and Culture Tourism, as well as augmenting quality accommodation in the region,” stated Laskar. She said that the Department is ready to take the suggestions of the private sector, travel trade associations, and professionals at the implementation stage of the plan. “With proper tourism infrastructure in place, the region could well become the ‘Gateway’ to the S E Asian countries,” she added. A similar road show was also held in Shillong on July 9, 2011.

NEC has already started consultations with various component states of the region about the projects and circuits that can be taken up as part of the Tourism Master Plan. In one such meeting held recently between NEC and the state officials of Manipur, Tripura, and Mizoram, it was agreed to develop Kangla, Loktak and Moreh in Manipur as a Tourism circuit under the Tourism Master Plan. According to Manjula Saika, Advisor, NEC, approximately Rs 3,600 cr will be spent for the implementation of Tourism Master Plan in the region.

The whole project will be broken into three phases and the first phase envisages developing infrastructure at tourist destinations like Kohima (Nagaland), Aizwal (Mizoram), Loktak Lake (Manipur), Nechuka (Arunachal Pradesh), Tawang (Assam), Manas (Assam), Tea Tourism (Upper Assam) and Umiang Lake (Meghalaya). The projects are expected to be taken up in the 12th Five Year Plan period, commencing from 2012.

Subhash Verma, President, ADTOI said that the region holds a lot of tourism potential and all states of the North East, private stakeholders and travel trade associations should work together to set up infrastructure and promote the region as one entity to discerning tourists. He also advocated more B2B workshops to update the trade about the region from time to time. He assured all kinds of support to agencies involved in developing the region into a tourist destination. About 38 members of the ADTOI from across India took part in the North East road show in Guwahati and Shillong.