ITANAGAR, Oct 1: The decision of the Arunachal Pradesh Tour Operators Association (APTOA) to celebrate this year’s World Tourism Day (WTD) at Namsai has potential to change the dynamics of the tourism industry in eastern Arunachal.
Blessed with enchanting natural beauty, rich tribal tradition and welcoming attitude of locales, along with ever improving road network, eastern Arunachal has everything to woo potential tourists.
Also, the state’s first civilian airport at Tezu and Advance Landing Ground at Pasighat are all set to start air services soon.
It is in this regard that the decision of APTOA to organize WTD at Namsai might emerge as a game changer. Though Tawang became a popular tourist destination due to Shahrukh Khan starrer Bollywood movie Koyla, which was extensively shot in the district, the APTOA members have played crucial role in selling other regions of Arunachal as tourist destinations to the rest of the world.
Namsai, which is home to the famous Golden Pagoda located in the hill side on the bank of river Tengapani, is attracting tourists from nearby Assam. Also, popular tourist destinations like Pangsau Pass, Parsuram Kund, Mayodia Pass, Jairampur World War II Cemetery, etc are situated in the eastern belt, making it an attractive tourist destination. However, the lack of accommodation is still a major issue and the government needs to work to resolve it.
During the World Tourism Day celebration held on September 27 last at Namsai, panel discussion and workshop were held to discuss and suggest means to improve the tourism sector in eastern Arunachal. Many prominent and experienced tour operators from states like Sikkim, Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and officials of India Tourism and the Department of Tourism, Government of Arunachal shared their experiences and suggested measures to improve the tourism scenario.
While talking to this daily, Secretary Tourism Dr Joram Beda informed that the department is making sincere efforts to promote eastern Arunachal as a major tourist destination. He also hailed the role of APTOA in successfully organizing the WTD at Namsai.
Speaking to the media on the sideline of the event, Chief Minister Pema Khandu shared that the state government has decided to start public-private partnership to boost tourism industry in the state.
Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism PD Sona said it is wrong to allege that the government is only promoting Tawang as tourist destination.
“Promotion of Tawang is part of our long term vision to develop every region of the state as a tourist destination in phased manner. Right now we are concentrating on Tawang and once we achieve our target, we will move to the next region. Promotion of all the areas in one go is difficult and is also not feasible for a state like ours,” said Sona.
The Department of Tourism and APTOA have taken huge stride to sell eastern Arunachal as a tourist destination by organizing this year’s World Tourism Day on a grand scale at Namsai, but it should not remain as mere token celebration and there has to be follow-up action to ensure that the mesmerizing region of eastern part of the state truly emerges as a world class tourist destination.