Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on September 28 launched a new tourism website for Meghalaya with a view to attracting visitors to the state. Amid the pandemic crisis, Conrad Sangma seems to be hopeful for the state with fresh tourism opportunities. The tourism website named ‘Check into Nature’ was launched via video conference. Commissioner and Secretary of Tourism Vijay Kumar, Director of Tourism Cyril Diengdoh and other stakeholders from the tourism and hospitality sector also took part in the event. Northeast Today writes.
While talking about the website CM Sangma stated that the website would be immensely beneficial as it provides comprehensive information to tourists keen on visiting Meghalaya. The website has precise information for tourists interested in golfing, caving, canoeing, water sports, and other adventurous activities.
In the launch programme, CM Sangma also emphasized on the safety measures to be taken considering the present crisis. “We need to look at safety measures, we need to build the confidence of the visiting tourists, overall we need to adapt to this entire situation to take maximum advantage to attract visitors,” he said. “I feel there will be a lot of domestic tourists coming into our state,” Sangma added.
The state of Meghalaya, which is a hill state of Northeast India, depends on tourism for major parts of its economic growth. During summers every year, Meghalaya becomes an easy destination for tourists locally, as well as globally. Its green valleys, famous waterfalls, high range mountains and unique rivers have been attracting thousands of travellers every year. During summer vacations in schools and colleges in various states of the country, Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya becomes a hotspot of tourists. Not only Shillong but places like Cherrapunjee and Mawsynram, which are among the wettest places in the world, too attracts a good number of tourists.
However, this year the worldwide tourism scenario completely changed and Meghalaya is no exception to that. As the pandemic completely halted the movement of people, states like Meghalaya suffered heavily which depend on tourism.
“The past couple of months have been the most difficult for the tourism sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector needs to adapt to the current situation and also promote Meghalaya as a safe travel destination post-pandemic,” CM Sangma said on the launch of the website.
“The Meghalaya government is conscious of the impact of COVID-19 on the growing tourism industry in the state and therefore, it is crucial to plan the reopening of tourism in Meghalaya so that it benefits all the tourism stakeholders involved, the residents of the state and the travellers & visitors alike,” he added.
“Air connectivity is very important for our State. Very soon we will be having direct flights from Delhi to Shillong and subsequently, the Government plans to expand this to include other major cities across the country,” he added.
It is worth mentioning here that coinciding with World Tourism Day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on 27th September inaugurated Destination North East 2020, a four-day festival to promote and showcase the region’s tourism, culture, heritage and business. The inauguration took place through video conferencing and was attended by Union minister for development of Northeast region (DONER) Jitendra Singh and the chief ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland and Sikkim.
The theme for this year’s event is ‘The Emerging Delightful Destinations’ and will be a virtual event due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have been to several places within the country and abroad and visited many tourist destinations. But I don’t think I have seen such natural beauty in any place except the northeast,” Shah said.
The festival held earlier at Varanasi, Chandigarh and Delhi and had attracted lots of visitors.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma who attended the event said, “It blends well with the theme of the event and is a reminder to all of us about the vital role of tourism in developing and enhancing rural economies.” Speaking at length on the tourism potential of Meghalaya that is blessed with bountiful nature, forests, waterfalls, caves, wildlife, flora and fauna, the Chief Minister said, “Our cultural heritage and traditions are deeply rooted in nature and it is in rural Meghalaya that the best of our tourist destinations are located, be it in Sohra, Mawlynnong, Shnongpdeng or Nokrek.”
“We are also investing in upskilling the rural tourism stakeholders and we expect the mode of revenues from tourism to flow into the rural areas as we open up,” he stressed.