As the Government of India has announced the Phase 3 of the Unlock process in India- all the states are working towards opening up and thereby reviving the economy in their respective states. Arunachal Pradesh, which has a strong tourism based economy is exploring ways to attract tourist to the state. Writes Amar Jyoti Borah
Arunachal Pradesh, a major tourism destination in India has suffered major losses due to the COVID pandemic and the series of lockdown and Covid related protocols initiated by the Union Government and the State Government.
The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh of the BJP led state government, Pema Khandu has been working on ways to tap this massive tourism potential, but was hit by a major setback after the outbreak of the COVID pandemic.
According to reports, the state lost around 2.02 lakh tourists post mid-March. “Issuing of Inner Line Permit (ILP) had to be suspended due to the COVID restriction and then the series of Lockdown, which seriously damaged the tourism sector in the state. But it will be wrong to single out only Arunachal Pradesh, as the tourism sector across the country was hugely affected,” said a senior official of the tourism department of Arunachal Pradesh.
Now to be able to tap on the tourism potential with the travel restrictions being likely to ease soon, the Arunachal Pradesh government has started tourism campaigns to attract tourists.
The state government has started the tourism campaign- DekhoApnaPradesh (Arunachal Pradesh) to be able to attract potential tourists.
According to a published report by Dr M Lama of the Rajiv Gandhi University, the number of tourist arrivals in the state has increased from 50,873 (50,560 domestic and 313 foreign tourists) in 2005 to 5,200,89 (5,124,36 domestic and 7,653 foreign tourists) in 2018. During 2010 to 2018, tourist arrivals in the state grew at a compound annual growth rate of 9.42 percent, which is higher than the northeastern regional average of 5.4 percent.
Now with the peak tourism season nearby, the state government is brainstorming ways to ensure that it doesn’t lose out the potential tourist shares and subsequently the tourism revenue.
“The digital campaign for the promotion of the tourism potential in the state has given positive response and feedback, and we are hoping for a good tourism season this year,” said the official of the tourism department.
The official also said that Arunachal Pradesh attracts a lot of tourists post the Durga Puja season and that the state government is planning to take up steps to woo tourists from across the country and abroad.
According to sources in the Arunachal Pradesh tourism department, Chief Minister Khandu has directed officials of the state tourism department to explore innovative ways to boost tourism in the state and which can be carried out at the earliest.
“Arunachal Pradesh every year attracts a sizeable number of tourists from across the country, but this year we are looking at maximizing the tourist inflow so that the tourism entrepreneurs in the state are able to make gains, and recover from the same, if not all losses,” said the official.
According to officials of the office of the Chief Minister’s Office, Arunachal Pradesh, chief minister Khandu is likely to make a visit soon to meet Union Tourism and Finance Minister, and to request them for support to the state.
The state government is also looking at possibilities to organize more events in the state this year or in the coming years to be able to attract more tourist footfalls in the state.
“Last year the annual Tawang Festival was a huge success and it ensured attraction of over 40,000 visitors, and this year if we are able to get as many tourists, it will be a huge boost for us in the midst of such troubling times,” said the official.
Every year the state also hosts the Ziro musical festival, Orange Festival, Bascon organic festival to celebrate the native tribal arts and also the Mechuka Adventure festival.
“Our state government is exploring ways to hold more such tourist attracting events and new innovative ways to attract tourists,” said the official.