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October 7, 2012

Northeast India - 'Paradise Unexplored' - needs better branding, marketing to attract tourists

     New Delhi: The tourism sector in north east India has huge potential and the government is chalking out plans to attract both investors and tourists to the region. “A paradise unexplored” is often how the Northeast is described. The Lushai Hills of Mizoram, the Garo Hills of Meghalaya, the Bramhaputra river and enchanting Nagaland, all are extremely beautiful places, but not many in the country know about them.

The region is home to exotic flora and fauna like clouded leopard, rhinos, tigers, wild buffaloes and swamp deer, and it has several national parks like Namdapha, Dibru-Saikhowa and Kaziranga. But the most interesting aspect of the region is its diversity of culture. Northeast India is the converging point for more than 200 tribes, each having their unique culture and language. “Northeast as it is called a “Paradise Unexplored” offers everything that tourists want both in the international and the domestic market. It has tremendous potential like adventure tourism, eco tourism, village tourism and others. You name the requirement and it’s there,” said KM Seth, a former governor of Tripura.

Despite all this, the inflow of tourists is limited. According to a government report, only one per cent of domestic tourists, and just half a per cent of international tourists, visit the Northeast. Security concerns and poor infrastructure are issues which trouble tourists to the region. The government is upgrading the infrastructure, and working hard to bring normalcy to the region. At a recent seminar in the national capital, Northeast Council and the DoNER ministry proposed to invest Rs.3960 crores in the tourism sector in the next decade to give a boost to the industry. The investment plan is part of an Integrated Tourism Master Plan for the Northeastern Region developed in accordance with a private player. “Tourism is a game of perception and we need to market and brand the region correctly. We need to go and tell people about what is there in Northeast region and then both tourists and investors will follow,” said Mukul Gogoi, Advisor (Tourism), Assam.

Security is a concern for the tourists, but in the last two decades, no visitors have been harmed in the region. As tourism grows, the region will reap multiple benefits - infrastructure will improve, better ties will be forged with the rest of the country, more investments will flow in, and new job opportunities will be created that will reduce the unemployment in the region.

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