SHILLONG, Nov 18 – The Union Tourism Ministry has proposed a package of Rs 600 crore in the 12th five year plan for development of tourism in the Northeastern region.
Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai said here today that tourism sector holds great potential in developing the region. He said his Ministry has therefore sought Rs 600 crore during the 12th five year plan.
Altogether, the Union Ministry has proposed a package of Rs 2,200 crore from the Planning Commission for development of the tourism sector in the entire country.
“All the Northeastern States are being asked to develop the sector so that tourist flow into the region is doubled from the current figure”, Sahay said after the 2nd Inter-State Regional Conference of Tourism Ministers of the East and Northeastern States.
He said as part of the larger plan to develop the fledgling tourism sector in the region theme parks showcasing the region’s heritage, culture together with modern amenities would be brought under one roof. “All the Northeastern States would have such theme parks in the coming years,” Sahay said.
The Union Ministry, he added, has targeted inflow of tourists in the country to 73 million by 2016 from 2010’s figure of 53 million. “The current figures are just not acceptable for a country like India, we must increase the inflow of tourists,” the Minister stated.
Sahay said that the tourism sector has the potential of creating 25 million new jobs and women would be the biggest beneficiaries.
The Minister urged the North- eastern Tourism Ministers who attended the conference to develop tourism on a mission mode and lauded Meghalaya’s effort in this regard.
The Union Minister also promised tourist police, taking personnel from the Coast Guard and other security agencies to guard vulnerable areas like beaches to protect foreign tourists.
He said awareness campaign would also be undertaken in schools, colleges and at the local administrative level so that tourists are given their due respect.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Government today announced that special packages would be developed to encourage tourists from West Bengal to visit the North- eastern region.