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Advantage North East: Two major industry events to give tourism a fillip

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REEMA LOKESHMumbai

With an aim to highlight the potential and untapped tourism wealth of the North East region, both in the domestic and international markets, the ministry of tourism (MoT), Government of India is organising an International Tourism Mart at Sorusojai Indoor Stadium, Guwahati, Assam, from January 18-20, 2013. The North-East International Tourism Mart is scheduled to bring together over 20 countries with approximately 100 participants to showcase various tourism offerings of the region.

In an exclusive with Express TravelWorld, Dhruba Hazarika, secretary (Tourism), Government of Assam informed, “The Government of Assam is grateful to the Government of India. The event will help showcase the North East to the world. We are keen to connect the North East with the neighbouring regions, SAARC countries and to other parts of India. Talks are on to build airports and heliports that will have night navigation facilities to improve connectivity.”

A source from the MoT in New Delhi said that apart from the initial plan to have ASEAN, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal as participants, countries such as US, Germany, UK and France will also participate in the mart. Five tourism ministers from other countries will also attend the event along with tour operators to build strong one-to-one business contacts. Performances by rock bands from the North East, promotion of local culture and meeting with local celebrities will be a part of the experience. MoT is spending around Rs 1.8 crore on this mart.

The Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI)) is also scheduled to hold its 10th Annual Convention at the same venue from January 20-22, 2013. The convention is themed as ‘India’s Unexplored Paradise’. The primary focus of the convention will be to promote the North Eastern states of India as potential adventure tourism destinations in order to gain rapid momentum. The aim is to create a platform for the adventure fraternity for new networking opportunities and to provide an environment for learning workshops. The convention will also provide knowledge exchanges and brainstorming sessions for the delegates to enhance efficiency levels and provide enhanced infrastructure for the adventure tourism industry.

Tejbir Singh Anand, president, ATOAI, said, “Apart from contributing towards opening up the North East, we wish to involve the local community which will in turn reap economic and social benefits. We cannot work in isolation and it is important to work towards bringing in best operational practices with consistency in the standard of service and offerings. Adventure tourism is also a perfect way to help make India a 12-month active holiday destination.”