Aamaar Aalohi to give new dimension to tourism in Assam
In the backdrop of Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra being appointed as Assam Tourism’s brand ambassador, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister of Tourism, also launched the semi-urban and rural homestay initiative titled “Aamaar Aalohi” meaning “our guest.” Framed with the objective of giving a new dimension and thrust to the rural homestay facilities in the state the initiative aimed towards creation of self-employment opportunities. Priyanka Chopra was officially appointed as Assam Tourism’s brand ambassador on 24th December during an event where she said that she would show the world how “awesome the state is.”
The idea behind the inception of the concept is to promote tourist accommodation in private homes in rural and semi-urban areas of the state. This project would encourage villagers to arrange homestays for tourists against reasonable charges. The tourists will be able to enjoy the true essence of rural life of the state away from the bustle of a city. This would be done keeping in mind the promotion of tea tourism, religious circuits and ethnic culture where guests would be required to venture into the interiors of the state and can choose for homestays. The scheme will not only allow tourists to experience Assamese customs but also relish the ethnic cuisine.
“The tourism industry has the potential of providing huge employment opportunities to our youth. We will soon create infrastructure that will encourage homestay. Under this project we will also impart soft skills and hospitality training to those villagers who join the homestay project,” the minister said while addressing media persons.
However, the conditions should be also easily accessible for the tourists. While sanitation, road connectivity and hygiene remain challenges the department has short-listed some of the areas that attract comparatively more numbers of tourists. In the first phase of the initiative twelve locations have been identified for a budget of around Rs 16 crores. Each homestay will be registered under the Assam Tourism Home Stay Scheme and will have several standard divisions that are expected to draw a large number of visitors from different places.
These houses with clean toilet facilities would be located in the rural/non-urban areas and will be reasonably furnished and ready for providing accommodation to tourists. They would have motorable road connectivity and will be located preferably close to tourist spots.
On the heels of roping in the Bollywood actor as its tourism brand ambassador, Himanta Biswa Sarma also unveiled the budgetary allocation for the sector that will see four-fold jump in the next financial year.
“In the next fiscal, we will allocate Rs 460 crores for the tourism department. It would be a quantum jump from the present Rs 100 crores,” Sarma said.
Unveiling key elements of the government’s roadmap towards transforming Assam into a global tourism hotspot Sarma said that Assam is probably one of the world’s most naturally beautiful destinations which has not been affected by concretisation. “We are a state of villages and provide several ideal locations to “rediscover yourself.” The appointment of Priyanka Chopra as our ambassador, our soon to be announced tourism policy and our new homestay scheme are all key steps and fully in line with this approach,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, the Bollywood actor said that the true essence of Assam and the northeast is not appreciated fully in India and in all likelihood even the world does not know much about it. Chopra assured her commitment to present the incredible part of Assam’s diversity and unity to the outside world in the right perspective.
“I am fortunate that the government of Assam has appointed me as the tourism ambassador of the state and I will take Assam, its people, food, wildlife, greenery and culture to the global stage and truly show the world how awesome Assam is,” the Quantico protagonist said while addressing the media.
“I may not have been born in Assam but I am an Indian and take incredible pride in my country. Assam is a part of India and I am as much a part of this state as any other part of the country. As such, I can claim to be an honorary Assamese,” the Padmashri awardee said, adding, “I will not say that I know very much about Assam but I am discovering it myself. I do hope to be able to show the world Assam from my vista.”
Asked whether due to her busy schedule she can justify her commitment to the cause, Priyanka said that she has not ever let anyone down and takes her responsibilities and commitments very seriously.
The actress, who had portrayed the protagonist in the Bollywood film Mary Kom, said that the northeast is the crowning glory of India and the seven sister states are its jewels. Though each may have a different essence yet all are beautiful in their own way, she said.
“I have travelled with Mary (Kom) to Manipur and had earlier come to Guwahati when my uncle was posted here and also after becoming Miss India for different fashion shows. The experiences in Manipur and Assam are different but both have been beautiful,” the Priyanka said.
Priyanka, who visited the Kamakhya Temple earlier that the day said she was moved and inspired to have been blessed by the deity and is looking forward to experience the Brahmaputra, wildlife - particularly rhinos, trekking, mountaineering and rafting.
Himanta Biswa Sarma had launched the logo of Assam tourism with the punch line “Awesome Assam” in September, 2016. The new logo depicts the one-horned rhino, world-famous Assam tea and the mighty Brahmaputra on one canvas.
Yearly status of flow of tourist:
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