Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Wednesday inaugurated the Lake View Cottages and Orchid Lake Cottages near the scenic Umiam Lake constructed under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Metbah Lyngdoh, Minister of Tourism, Government of Meghalaya, Yogendra Tripathy, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, and officials of the concerned department.
Speaking on tourism potential, the chief minister said that a focussed approach to boost the sector will pay dividend for the State and its economy and thanked the Ministry of Tourism and Union Minister A.J Alphons for extending support to develop tourism infrastructure in Meghalaya. “We can reap rich dividends by investing and developing tourism. For every rupee that is spent in this sector, the return will be hundred fold, which will have direct bearing on our economy,” the Chief Minister said.
He said that the government has adopted a systematic approach to develop tourism by taking an initiative to develop and package the unique selling point of a particular destination in the State. “We want to build a positive campaign to promote our destinations and invite tourist to experience the culture, nature and the climate of Meghalaya,” he said. Talking about the diversity of the tribes in Meghalaya, the chief minister said that the government has envisioned developing heritage villages in different destinations to enable the tourist to experience the unique culture, traditions and music of Meghalaya.
He informed that the central government is extending all support for developing connectivity to different tourism destinations, which will facilitate tourism in the State. “We are engaging with different airlines to start direct air connectivity from Delhi and Kolkatta and if this happens it will be a huge boost to tourism. Likewise, if there is air connectivity from neighbouring countries, Meghalaya being the nearest hill state will immensely benefit,” he added.
Tourism Minister Metbah Lyngdoh informed that there is growth in tourism sector and all efforts to further boost tourism are in pipeline. “We are fortunate to have been blessed with splendid natural beauty. So our focus has been to ensure that the infrastructure and amenities are put in place,” Lyngdoh said. Secretary Tourism, Government of India Yogendra Tripathy said, “The growth of tourism in northeast is more than the national average in the past few years and Ministry of Tourism is giving adequate focus to tap the potential of tourism in Northeast through different schemes specific to Northeast as well as other schemes of the ministry.”
Tripathy stated that according to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index published by the World Economic Forum in the last three years, India’s position has jumped by 25 positions that indicate that the effort that has been made has yielded results. In 2017, India ranked 40 in the list. He also informed the gathering that the 2nd project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme has been approved for Meghalaya. The project is aimed at developing tourist circuits in other districts of the State including West Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills.
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