Shri Jagdish Mukhi, Governor of Assam inaugurated the “6th International Tourism Mart (ITM) -2017” in the presence of Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister Assam, Shri Pema Khandu, Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Shri K.J.Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, Dr.Hemanta Biswa Sarma, Minister for Tourism of Assam, Union Tourism Secretary Smt.Rashmi Verma, Shri V.K.Pipersenia, Chief Secretary of Assam and other dignitaries from Central Ministries and North Eastern States in Guwahati, Assam today. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in association with the North Eastern States has organised this Mart from 5-7 December, 2017.
Delivering inaugural address, Shri Jagdish Mukhi extended his greetings to all participants and said that this International Tourism Mart will go a long way in harnessing tourism potential in the North Eastern States. He said that this Mart is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the unique tourism treasures of North Eastern States. Keeping in view the Act East Policy of the Government, this platform will serve its purpose. He opined that the Assam is very rich in ethnic and cultural diversity and people of Assam are always renowned with their hospitality. He said that we need to exhibit the highest level of courtesy. He conveyed his best wishes for the success of the 6th International Tourism Mart-2017.
Shri Sarvanand Sonowal in his address said that the Assam is a land blessed with many tourism potentials and the people of Assam are very warm and hospitable. He said that recently Assam Government has enacted the ‘New Tourism Policy’ which will facilitate the tourists and other stakeholders. He said that ‘Once you visit Assam, it will steal forever’. Assam want to grow without destroying our eco-system and tourism is the most potential sector in Assam.
Addressing on the occasion, Shri Pema Khandu said that he was associated with the International Tourism Mart since 2013 when he was the Tourism Minister of Arunachal Pradesh. Then he proposed to organize International Tourism Mart in Arunachal Pradesh and subsequently Second International Tourism Mart was held in the beautiful city of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. He said that connectivity and infrastructure are two problems which North Eastern States are facing. He hoped that due to initiatives like International Tourism Mart, very soon tourist arrivals in North Eastern States will be increased substantially.
Shri K.J. Alphons in his address said that India is blessed with so many varied tourism potentials whether it is geographical position or its cuisines or its textiles or its varied cultures or its ancient cultural heritages and monuments. He opined that the North Eastern India is the most beautiful place under the Sun. He said that we have the capability to put India on the forefront in the field of tourism and for this we need to realize the tourism potential of North Eastern States and need to work together.
In his address, Dr. Hemanta Biswa Sarma said that this is the biggest tourism and travel industry Mart in North Eastern States and North East region has a number of tourism sites which need to be converted in to tourist destinations with better approach. He said that North Eastern States are very safe for tourists as there are hardly any news of crime against them. He said that the new tourism policy will boost tourism sector in Assam.
In her address, Smt. Rashmi Verma said that the Foreign Tourists arrival in India is showing upward trend and there has been considerable increase in Foreign Currency also. She said that the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is paying much attention on the promotion of tourism in North Eastern States of the country. She opined that there is a need to have better synergy with private sector. She suggested that the North Eastern States should regularly participate in road shows in foreign countries.
The 6th International Tourism Mart has put the spotlight on India’s “Act East Policy”, blossoming ties with ASEAN and the larger East Asia region, home to the world’s rapidly growing economies and India’s emerging tourism markets. Besides deliberations on promotion of tourism in the North East Region in general, keeping the objectives of the ''Act East Policy” in view, the panel discussions are focussing on promoting cultural ties, people-to-people contact with countries in the ASEAN region providing enhanced connectivity to the States of North Eastern Region with other countries in our neighbourhood, thereby developing inter-regional tourism between the ASEAN and North East Region of India. The ITM - 2017 has also seen an active participation by the Ministry of DONER to synergize the process of development of tourism of the North East Region.
This is the 6th International Tourism Mart and an annual event organised in the North Eastern region with the objective of highlighting the tourism potential of the region in the domestic and international markets. It brings together the tourism business fraternity and entrepreneurs from the eight North Eastern States. The event has been planned and scheduled to facilitate interaction between buyers, sellers, media, government agencies and other stakeholders. The North East Region of India comprising the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim, is endowed with diverse tourist attractions and products. The varied topography of the region, its flora and fauna, the ethnic communities with their rich heritage of ancient traditions and lifestyles, its festivals, arts and crafts, make it a holiday destination waiting to be explored.
Buyer and Media delegates from around the world and from different regions of the country are participating in the Mart and are engaged in one-to-one meetings with sellers from the North East Region. This has enabled the tourism product suppliers from the region to reach out to international and domestic buyers, with the objective of promoting tourism to the region, around 66 foreign delegates comprising of stakeholders and media persons from over 28 countries namely Australia, Bhutan, Brunei, Canada, China, Combodia, Cyprus, Fiji, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Tanzania, Thailand, USA, UK, Vietnam, Turkey and South Korea.
Besides the foreign delegates, 50 domestic stakeholders in Tourism sector from other parts of the country and 103 sellers from the North Eastern States are participating in the Mart. Representatives of State Tourism Departments of these North East States are also present to showcase their tourism destinations and to interact with the delegates.
International buyers and media delegates from countries around the world and from different regions of the country are participating in the Mart. They are engaged in business-to-business meetings with sellers from the North Eastern Region. In addition to these, the three-day event also includes presentations by state governments on their tourism potential, cultural evenings, sightseeing visits to local attractions in and around Guwahati and a Press Briefing on 6th December 2017.
An exhibition by State Tourism Departments from the North Eastern States including display of beautiful handicrafts and handlooms has also been organised to show case the tourism products of respective participating States.
Overwhelming response has been received for taking post-mart familiarisation tours to the North Eastern states by foreign buyer delegates. This has created awareness about the rich and varied tourism products of the North Eastern region and to give them a first-hand experience of the destination.
The International Tourism Marts are organised in the North Eastern States on rotation basis. The earlier editions of this mart have been held in Guwahati, Tawang, Shillong, Gangtok and Imphal.