‘Awesome Assam’ set to give a big fillip to tourism
The global tourism industry has reached an unprecedented level of demand. Tourism as an industry has developed so much that it can easily change the economic scenario of a country. Several countries have transformed themselves through tourism and created a global presence in the tourism industry. India has been moving in the same direction and as per the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) during 2015, India ranks 40th in terms of international tourist arrivals. Meanwhile Assam, due its popular wildlife has become a well-liked tourism destination. However, according to a recent report of India’s Ministry of Tourism, Assam along with the rest of northeast has seen a comparative downfall in the recent past. In fact, neither Goa nor Kerala but Tamil Nadu has emerged as India’s most popular state for foreign tourists.
The top five frequented states viz. Tamil Nadu (4.68 million), Maharashtra (4.41 million), Uttar Pradesh (3.1 million), Delhi (2.38 million) and West Bengal (1.49 million) have been the consistently top ranked states in the country in terms of tourism. The top 10 states contributed about 88.4% to the total number of foreign tourist visits to the country during 2015. These states also house some of the major cities of India where tourists usually arrive before they go on to explore other parts of the country. Meanwhile, Assam is endowed with plenty of natural and cultural resources which can form the basis for a very lucrative tourism industry, creating employment and generating income not only in the urban centres but also in the rural areas.
What Assam has to offer?
The need of the hour is to market Assam vigorously in order to refurbish its image in the national and international tourism market using latest technological interventions. Assam can become one of the most sought after destinations in the country because of its magnificent tourism products like exotic wildlife, awesome scenic beauty, colourful fairs and festivals, age old historical monuments, lush green tea gardens and golf courses, the massive Brahmaputra River and its tributaries, serene and tranquil country side and warm and hospitable people.
“What had held tourism back in Assam were its insurgency issues, remoteness, and a sense of perceived insecurity and negative publicity of the place. Meanwhile, the figures of Tamil Nadu, Goa and Delhi are better because these states are transit points for tourists. Some of these are industrially established cities due to which they get footfall of several business delegates regularly. Meanwhile, Assam has its luxuriant greenery and wildlife which is very unique in a sense that it brings one close to nature. In order to do justice to the state’s tourism potential, we are working towards branding Assam,” mentioned Paul Barua, Director, Assam Tourism.
The state is set to take a big leap into the money-spinning world of tourism. It has come up with a draft tourism policy which includes ‘Awesome Assam’, a campaign to boost tourism in all sectors including wildlife, spirituality, tea, golf, adventure, leisure, monsoon, film, and so on.
Assam will first have to overhaul its image of a militancy-hit zone by re-branding itself and putting the latest technological interventions to use, the draft Assam Tourism Policy, 2016, says. The policy proposes the creation of a framework to transform tourism into a major economic sector of the state and increase tourist inflow two to three folds in the next five years. In 2014, around 48,00,000 domestic and 20,000 foreign tourists visited the state.
“Assam has special things to offer, but it needs to get a framework in place to realize the benefits. Promotion is a major way through which the rise in footfall can be witnessed. We are working towards promoting Assam in different states by penetrating into other cultures and showcase our culture at a national platform. Activities such as cultural shows, road-shows, direct interaction with tour operators are being carried out. We have Bangaluru, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad with Barasha Rani Bishaya as our ambassador. However, in the project Awesome Assam, discussions are in pipeline to have an ambassador of international repute,” Barua stated adding that the hospitality sector is being intervened in order to boost the tourist footfall in the State.
“What had held tourism back in Assam were its insurgency issues, remoteness, and a sense of perceived insecurity and negative publicity of the place ... Assam has its luxuriant greenery and wildlife which is very unique in a sense that it brings one close to nature. In order to do justice to the state’s tourism potential, we are working towards branding Assam,” Paul Barua, Director, Assam Tourism.
Yearly status of flow of tourist
The policy proposes the creation of a framework to transform tourism into a major economic sector of the state
The policy will hopefully increase tourist inflow two to three folds in the next five years.
In 2015, around 56,00,000 domestic and 26,000 foreign tourists visited the state.
The top five frequented states viz. Tamil Nadu (4.68 million), Maharashtra (4.41 million), Uttar Pradesh (3.1 million), Delhi (2.38 million) and West Bengal (1.49 million)