CM urges officials to focus on tourism promotion

ITANAGAR, Sep 25: The Chief Minister Pema Khandu urged the officials of tourism department to focus not on constructions but on promotion of tourism.
Stating that most of the assets under the tourism department have been created without considering their feasibility and through individual-centric schemes, Khandu asserted, ‘such practices, henceforth, would not be allowed to continue.’
“We have created many assets across the state, of which most are lying useless and have decayed. We are not going to tolerate such wastage of public money. It is up to the departmental officials to ensure it,” Khandu said, chairing a review meeting of the department here on Wednesday.
Reiterating the government’s decision to do away with engineering wings of all non-engineering departments like tourism, he said one of the main reasons for the department not being able to lure tourists is that at present its main focus is on construction. He suggested the department to focus on its core activity, which is promotion of tourism in the state, and ‘leave construction works to work departments.’
Since the Center is giving topmost priority to connectivity in the North East, Khandu said tourist footfall will increase drastically in the coming years and Arunachal Pradesh should be ready to maximize on it.
Stating that the attitude of the local people towards tourists must change, he called upon the DTOs to create awareness amongst the people on etiquettes and hospitality.
Giving the example of Tawang, which registers the most number of tourist footfall in the state, Khandu said ‘it is not only because of its scenic beauty on offer but also because of the attitude of the local people.’
“What attracts tourists more is the local hospitality, their behavior and easy access. We have to work on creating awareness in a big way,” he said.
The CM also emphasized on taking along all stakeholders like tour operators, adventure sports enthusiasts, bloggers, hoteliers, online agencies, etc. for boosting tourism in the state.
He opined that the department alone cannot succeed in promoting Arunachal as a highly sought-after tourist destination unless all stakeholders work together in tandem.
He advised the department to prioritize wayside amenities with all modern facilities on tourist circuits, particularly on those circuits frequented most by tourists. He said such wayside amenities may be created by the department and leased out to prominent dhabas or restaurants along the route, who can maintain them.
“We need to approach and work out with big groups like Taj Hotels for investing in the state that will pave way for high-end tourism,” he said.
On various issues, like creation of posts, lack of sufficient manpower, office infrastructure, etc, the CM asked the DTOs to give in writing all issues concerning their respective districts to the new director for consideration of the government.
While endorsing the Chief Minister’s view that rampant approval and construction of assets must be stopped, Tourism Minister Nakap Nalo emphasized that construction of all assets under the Center’s Swadesh Darshan program must be completed within time. He informed that because of one incomplete project, funds for rest of the projects will be halted, ‘which the state cannot afford.’
Supporting the government’s decision to do away with the engineering wing, Nalo, however, requested the CM that a strict directive may be given to the work department assigned for tourism projects, to put in place a mechanism to coordinate with the nodal department all the time in execution of projects.
Tourism Secretary Sadhana Deori, Tourism Director Abu Tayeng, deputy directors, assistant directors, district tourism officers, resident tourism officers, tourist information officers and officials from the department’s engineering wing attended the meeting. (CMO)