STEENA JOY – Berlin
The Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) has plans to build a convention centre in Guwahati, Assam with a seating capacity of 2,000 pax. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Anurag Sinha, managing director, ATDC informed, “Once the land is finalised, the much awaited project is expected to roll out in this financial year, maybe in the next two months. Guwahati has long felt the need for a state-of-the-art convention centre especially to tap the MICE market.” Recently many MICE events have been held in Guwahati like the North East Food Processing Expo at NEDFi haat at Ambari in January organised by Neramac (North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation), an initiative of the Centre.
Singh added, “We have lot of MICE events lined up this year. First the Eco Tourism Society of India’s (ESOI) workshop in March, followed by the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India’s (ATOAI) 10th annual convention from October 28 -31 and then the North East Travel Mart to be held for the first time in Guwahati in November.”
Presently, the city’s convention needs are met by the Guwahati Medical College Convention Centre (which can accommodate upto 800 pax) and the ITA Machkhowa Complex (500 pax). As for rooms, Guwahati has a hotel room supply of around 500 rooms in privately owned hotels and 100+ rooms in ATDC’s 49 properties, some of which are owned and some leased out for three years to private parties through open bids.
Sinha also revealed that talks are on to start helicopter services in Assam to improve connectivity. Plans are to build heliports at five points: Manas, Kaziranga, Dibru Saikhowa, Pobitora and Jeypore. Since all of these are either national parks or wildlife sanctuaries or rainforests, the heliports will be built at the stipulated five km distance from these protected areas. The heliports will be built by ATDC in public private partnership (PPP) mode through open bids.