SHILLONG: Tourism is an important sector to generate revenue for Meghalaya especially after the ban on coal mining by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), however there is a need to explore the possibilities of developing new places in the state in order to expand the scope of tourism further.
There is also a need to develop and promote new destinations in the state to further boost the tourist footfalls which have over the decade been on the rise.
During the last legislative assembly session held in the month of September this year, Tourism Minister Metbah Lyngdoh had said that while the number of domestic tourists arrived in the state in 2017 was 990856, the foreign tourists visited the state during the period was 12051.
With this objective in mind to promote new tourist destination, the Minister of Agriculture Bantiedor Lyngdoh recently inspected Wah Umngot river located at Nongjrong village under Mawkynrew constituency as it has the potential of becoming a new tourist destination.
It may be mentioned that this river connects with the main Wah Umngot river at Dawki.
“I will soon meet with the Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and Tourism Minister Metbah Lyngdoh to discuss on the possibility of promoting this area as a tourist destination,” Bantiedor Lyngdoh told The Sentinel after inspecting the area along with officers from different government departments.
“The local villagers of this area had tried to explore the different avenues to promote this place as a tourist destination however it was unsuccessful hence I have visited this area along with officers from different state government departments to find a solution to promote this place as a tourist destination,” he said.
The Minister said that tourism is an import sector hence for this place to become a tourist destination it will be a blessing for the local villagers of the area as they will be able to generate self employment as many tourists will visit the Wah Umngot river. “It will not only benefit the people of Nongjrong village but it will also generate employment to other neighboring villages under Mawkynrew constituency,” he said.
The Minister in his visit to Nongjrong had admitted that the road leading up to the river is in a very poor condition hence there is a need to find ways and means to lay black topping of the road. “If the roads are repaired and in good condition many tourist will flock to this area,” he said. The Minister however said that the local villagers should maintain cleanliness of the area and to preserve their traditional custom.
He also informed that there are other unidentified potential tourist spots in the constituency which still needs to be explored and identified “We need to promote tourism in the constituency with an object to maximize the benefit of the people,” he said. When asked, he said, “I don’t think it is going to be difficult to promote this area as a tourist destination as I’m also part of the government and without the help of the government we cannot go forward.”
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