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3-day 9th International Tourism Mart 2021 underway in Kohima

Special guest Ajay Bhatt lighting the ceremonial lamp

The Nagaland CM said that the government of Nagaland is opening up taking all precautions and safeguards and hopeful that the event would bring together the business fraternity, entrepreneurs from northeastern states

By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent

The three-day “9th International Tourism Mart 2021”, organised by the Union Ministry of Tourism, got underway on Saturday in Kohima.

Speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural programme, the Nagaland Chief Minister said that it was a proud moment and a privilege for the people of Nagaland to host the three days international tourism mart programme which has travelled a long way to come to Nagaland and finally reached the beautiful city of Kohima. 

Stating that the tourism mart is being held at a time when the world was trying to open up after the extreme disruption on account of COVID-19 pandemic, Rio shared that for almost two years the people have been held up without much activity, while also the tourism sector has been adversely affected.

He said that the government of Nagaland is opening up taking all precautions and safeguards and hopeful that the event would bring together the business fraternity, entrepreneurs from northeastern states which would give a boost to the sector in the state of Nagaland as well as the entire northeast for which he thanked the delegates for coming to Nagaland.

Highlighting that the Nagas celebrate festivals for every significant aspect of lives relating to agricultural calendar, Rio also informed to the gathering that all year long, dozens of festivals including hornbill festival which is aptly called the “festival of festivals” are also celebrated.

He also informed that the Nagaland government would be launching the 22nd edition of Hornbill Festival 2021 on December 1 comprising hundreds of events including cultural extravaganzas, food and cuisines, handloom and handicrafts, expos, adventure and traditional sports.

He disclosed the icing of the cake will be the Hornbill Music Festival and added that the hornbill festival which started on December 1, 2000, as a major tourism trust in the state has achieved global recognition beyond the scenic rivers and the majestic mountains of Nagaland.

“The credit goes to the people of Nagaland for their enthusiastic cooperation and participation and the infrastructural development that has happened”, Rio added.

He also invited the delegates of the 9th International Tourism Mart 2021 to the festival which he said celebrates the Naga way of lives and reflection of energy and vibrancy of the new generation of the Nagas.

He said that the 9th International Tourism Mart 2021 is the right initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, GOI, for promoting tourism sector in the north eastern region.

Going by the media account, Rio said that the tourist inflow into north eastern region has been increased from 71.62 lakhs during 2014-15 to more than 1Crore visitors in 2018-19 for which he expect the distinguished delegates present would deliberate and find new ideas to harness the full tourism potentials in the northeastern region.

Rio also said he is confident that with the united and concerted efforts of the eight northeastern states and all the stakeholders who are part of the mart, the tourism industry would get necessary boost.

He later said that the 9th International Tourism Mart 2021 would succeed in meeting these objectives of highlighting the tourism potentials of the region in the domestic and international market.

Addressing the gathering as special guest, Union minister of state for Tourism and Defence, Ajay Bhatt said that the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has made an appeal from the Red Fort that everyone should visit Northeast as it has immense tourism potential.

He said that the simple nature and hospitality of the northeastern people are incomparable which he said he was experiencing himself.

Bhatt also said that this tourism mart is emphasizing on domestic tourism.

He also asked the various Ambassadors from different countries who are attending the mart to motivate tourists of their country to visit northeast region of India.

Stating that the Centre was doing many things for the development of tourism in the Northeast, Bhatt also highlighted that to prepare the infrastructure, the Government of India has sanctioned funds to the Northeastern States under “Swadesh Darshan” and “Prashad” schemes.

He said under “Swedesh Darshan”, 16 projects have been approved in the northeast which have been completed or nearing completion.

Bhatt later made an appeal to the State governments to celebrate “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsava” with great enthusiasm

Union Tourism Secretary, Arvind Singh, while thanking the government of Nagaland for giving its whole hearted to the ministry of tourism, GoI, to host the 9th International Tourism Mart 2021, informed that the Ministry of tourism along with the northeastern states have been organizing the international tourism mart to promote the tourism potentials of the northeast region of India.

He disclosed that it is the biggest travel and tour networking event in the northeastern region of the country with its rich natural beauty, serenading and exotic flora and fauna of the region are invaluable resources for the development of tourism especially eco-tourism.

“The region is endowed with diverse tourist attractions and each state has its own unique features”, Arvind said.

He also added that these attractions and the people of the region constitute rich tourism resources while the facilities for tourists to stay, food and entertainment are improving over the years since conducting the Mart.

He said that everyone is facing the challenges of the Covid pandemic which has severely affected the world and disclosed that the ministry of tourism under the leadership of tourism minister and minister of state along with stakeholders are trying to work constantly to support the sector.

He also informed that detailed operational guidelines of Covid safety measures have been circulated to all the stakeholders and informed that the ministry has develop an initiative called “Sathi” for effective implementation of guidelines and SOPs issued with regard to Covid-19.

In order to provide relief to the tourism industry, Arvind said the ministry has launched “Dekho Apna Desh” which was initiated in January 2020 and under this initiative, the ministry has organized series of webinars in partnership with stake holders under the overall theme of “Dekho Apna Desh” showcasing the diverse culture, heritage and tourism products of the country.

He informed that the ministry is also under dialogue with other several ministries like the ministry of finance, civil aviation, railways, roads and transport and culture for cohesive development of tourism infrastructure facilities in all parts of the country including the northeastern region.

The Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, also said that India has reached a landmark with huge numbers of people being vaccinated and keeping in mind this, the government of India has started granting fresh tourist visas for foreigners coming to India from November 15 while around 5 lakhs e-tourist visas would be given free of cost.

He also informed that under Prime Minister’s initiative to let students visit northeast, 50 university students have been selected from all over the country from different universities who are also attending the three days programme.

He later said he is confident that the event would help them in understanding more about the region.

Advisor, Tourism, Nagaland, H. Kehovi Yeputhomi, while welcoming the delegates said that this year, the international tourism mart holds more significant as we are celebrating at a time when the world is emerging from the “dark cloud” of the pandemic and countries across the world are contemplating on opening the tourism doors with all health and security precautions in place.

“This is the time to come together and consolidate all our efforts for the revival of the tourism industry on a united front”, Kehovi said.

Ambassadors of Vietnam, and Myanmar, High Commission of Brunei and Malaysia, Minister and Deputy Chief-de-Mission of Thailand, MLA and Advisor to Chief Minister, Arunachal Pradesh, dignitaries and delegates from across the country are participating in the three day event which would culminate on November 29. 

It may be mentioned that the “International Tourism Mart” is organized in northeast states on a rotation and Nagaland is hosting this Mart for the first time.

The 9th International Tourism Mart 2021 is being held with a focus on domestic tourism with deliberation on promotion of tourism in the northeast region.

It will also give a platform for promoting, enhancing commodity to the states of northeastern region with other parts of the country.

More than 50 buyers from different regions of the country are participating in the mart and will engage in one to one with the 75 sellers from the northeast region.

This year the mart also includes 50 university students from all over the country are participating for the first time.

The three days event included presentations by the state governments, panel discussions, food demonstration, live bands, fashion show, NE bazaar and technical visits in and around Kohima.    

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