GUWAHATI, Jan 22 - A new chapter in the State�s tourism sector was scripted today with the formal launching of the first ever community-based rural tourism on the bank of the historic Chandubi lake, some 60 km from the city.
For a refreshing change, rural and eco-tourism in and around Chandubi � a locale abounding in diverse tourist interests � will be managed by the villagers through traditional home-stays and other sustainable tourism practices from now onwards.
Launched by Assam Tourism in association with the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council, the venture has local communities as the chief stakeholders. Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok, which is the hospitality partner in the venture, will impart training to the villagers for efficient management of tourism in the area.
�This is a first-of-its-kind initiative for promotion of community-managed tourism in the State. Chandubi boasts of wide-ranging tourist interests, and involvement of the local communities can ensure that tourism flourishes in sync with nature and in a manner that is sustainable,� Ratnangshu Thakuria, Deputy Director, Assam Tourism, told The Assam Tribune.
A �gaon sabha� held at Chandubi today and attended by community members, government representatives, Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council members and All Rabha Student Union leaders selected five home-stays in the area. A Chandubi eco-tourism website was also launched.
Pankaj Chakravarty, Circle Officer, Palasbari, said that a Chandubi Rural Tourism Regulatory Committee had been formed for ensuring sustainable tourism in the eco-sensitive area.
�We want the local communities to manage tourism responsibly and sustainably and reap the benefits accruing from it. Picnics are to be discouraged in the area as it has already done great harm to the ecology of the wetland and the forest. Eco-tourism and rural tourism, in fact, can be a far better alternative to picnics,� he said.
�Apart from the lake, the Chandubi area has a huge tourism potential. Visitors can enjoy trekking through pristine forests, can visit orange orchards, tea gardens and muga cultivation, and enjoy river cruises on the Kulsi which is also home to the elusive river dolphin. There are several waterfalls, the famed Chagalsari Hilltop and the intriguing Kundilmukh where the river disappears and resurfaces at a distance,� Chakravarty said.