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Arunachal CM for focus on tourism promotion

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ITANAGAR, Sept 25 - Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has urged officials of the State Tourism Department to focus on promotion of tourism instead of construction of infrastructure.

Chairing a review meeting of the Tourism Department here on Wednesday, Khandu expressed concern that tourist footfalls have not substantially increased over the years despite the rich tourism potential of the State.

Reiterating the Government�s decision to do away with the engineering wings of all non-engineering departments including the Tourism Department, Khandu pointed out that the department has not been able to attract tourists as its present focus is on construction.

He suggested that the department should focus on its core activity, which is promotion of tourism in the State, and let the works departments to carry out construction activities.

The Chief Minister said most assets of the State Tourism Department were created without studying their viability and through individual-centric schemes. This will not be allowed anymore, he asserted.

�Many tourism assets across the State have been lying in a defunct state and have worn out. We will not allow such wastage of public money,� he said.

As the Centre is giving topmost priority to connectivity in the North East, tourist footfalls will increase in the coming years and Arunachal Pradesh should take full advantage of the future possibilities, the Chief Minister said. The attitude of the local people towards tourists must change, he added.

Khandu directed the district tourism officers to create awareness on etiquette and hospitality. Citing the example of Tawang, which attracts the maximum number of tourists in the State, Khandu said this is not due to the scenic beauty of the place but also the friendly attitude of the local people.

�No district in our State is lesser in respect of natural and cultural beauty. Every district has something unique to offer. But what attracts tourists more is the local hospitality, behaviour of residents and easy access. We have to work on creating awareness in a big way,� he said.

Khandu also stressed the need to take along all stakeholders like tour operators, adventure sports enthusiasts, bloggers, hoteliers, online agencies, etc., to boost tourism in the State. He pointed out that the department alone cannot succeed in promoting Arunachal Pradesh as a much-sought destination unless all stakeholders work in tandem.

He advised the department to build modern facilities at all wayside amenities along tourism circuits, particularly those most frequented by tourists. He said that these wayside amenities may be created by the department and leased out to prominent dhaba or restaurant operators.

Khandu also called for focus on promoting homestays and gradual switchover to high-end tourism. �We need to approach big groups like Taj Hotels for investing in the State that will pave the way for high-end tourism,� he said.

On issues like creation of posts, lack of sufficient manpower, office infrastructure, etc., the Chief Minister asked the tourism officers to inform the new Tourism Director.

Tourism Minister Nakap Nalo also expressed concern over that majority of the departmental assets are lying in a defunct and dilapidated condition. Endorsing the Chief Minister�s view that rampant construction of assets must stop, he, however, stated that construction of all assets under the Centre�s Swadesh Darshan programme should be completed in time. He added that non-completion of projects also affects fund flow to other projects, which the State cannot afford.

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Arunachal CM for focus on tourism promotion

ITANAGAR, Sept 25 - Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has urged officials of the State Tourism Department to focus on promotion of tourism instead of construction of infrastructure.

Chairing a review meeting of the Tourism Department here on Wednesday, Khandu expressed concern that tourist footfalls have not substantially increased over the years despite the rich tourism potential of the State.

Reiterating the Government�s decision to do away with the engineering wings of all non-engineering departments including the Tourism Department, Khandu pointed out that the department has not been able to attract tourists as its present focus is on construction.

He suggested that the department should focus on its core activity, which is promotion of tourism in the State, and let the works departments to carry out construction activities.

The Chief Minister said most assets of the State Tourism Department were created without studying their viability and through individual-centric schemes. This will not be allowed anymore, he asserted.

�Many tourism assets across the State have been lying in a defunct state and have worn out. We will not allow such wastage of public money,� he said.

As the Centre is giving topmost priority to connectivity in the North East, tourist footfalls will increase in the coming years and Arunachal Pradesh should take full advantage of the future possibilities, the Chief Minister said. The attitude of the local people towards tourists must change, he added.

Khandu directed the district tourism officers to create awareness on etiquette and hospitality. Citing the example of Tawang, which attracts the maximum number of tourists in the State, Khandu said this is not due to the scenic beauty of the place but also the friendly attitude of the local people.

�No district in our State is lesser in respect of natural and cultural beauty. Every district has something unique to offer. But what attracts tourists more is the local hospitality, behaviour of residents and easy access. We have to work on creating awareness in a big way,� he said.

Khandu also stressed the need to take along all stakeholders like tour operators, adventure sports enthusiasts, bloggers, hoteliers, online agencies, etc., to boost tourism in the State. He pointed out that the department alone cannot succeed in promoting Arunachal Pradesh as a much-sought destination unless all stakeholders work in tandem.

He advised the department to build modern facilities at all wayside amenities along tourism circuits, particularly those most frequented by tourists. He said that these wayside amenities may be created by the department and leased out to prominent dhaba or restaurant operators.

Khandu also called for focus on promoting homestays and gradual switchover to high-end tourism. �We need to approach big groups like Taj Hotels for investing in the State that will pave the way for high-end tourism,� he said.

On issues like creation of posts, lack of sufficient manpower, office infrastructure, etc., the Chief Minister asked the tourism officers to inform the new Tourism Director.

Tourism Minister Nakap Nalo also expressed concern over that majority of the departmental assets are lying in a defunct and dilapidated condition. Endorsing the Chief Minister�s view that rampant construction of assets must stop, he, however, stated that construction of all assets under the Centre�s Swadesh Darshan programme should be completed in time. He added that non-completion of projects also affects fund flow to other projects, which the State cannot afford.