State Tourism Policy likely by year end
By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: The State Government is likely to finalize a full-fledged Tourism Policy by the end of this year.
“The final draft of the policy would be ready by September. The draft would be put in the official website for comments and suggestions before it is adopted by the Government,” Tourism Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh told The Shillong Times here on Thursday.
The plan to have a State Tourism Policy was made in the early part of 2005 and in 2009 a “tourism task force” was also constituted in this regard.
Meanwhile, the Government has prepared a five-year action plan on tourism for the period from 2010 to 2015 in order to attract more tourists and improve tourism infrastructure all over the State, according to the minister.
The action plan was prepared after a recommendation from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
Development of infrastructure at tourist destinations, accessibility to tourism destinations, wayside amenities and public-private partnership in tourism development are some of the thrust areas in the action plan.
To attract the tourists, the government will also focus on cultural tourism, rural tourism, eco tourism, pilgrimage tourism, health and adventure tourism, she said.
Tourism will be promoted under the tag line “Mesmerizing Meghalaya” during the five-year plan, she added.
Meanwhile, she underlined the urgent need to upgrade the airports at Umroi and Baljek to boost tourism in the State.
A proposal for having helicopters to carry tourists has been sent to the Union Ministry of Tourism.
As per the plan, the Tourism Department will work in coordination with the Forest Department for conservation of the natural heritage sites like national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves and caves etc. Heritage buildings and monuments will also be protected as per the action plan with the help of the Arts and Culture Department.
Lyngdoh said co-operation of the self help groups, NGOs and police would be sought to make Meghalaya tourist friendly and that maximum local people would be engaged in the various projects under the action plan.
Source: The Shillong Times