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Talking Arunachal: Culture, adventure, nature

Talking Arunachal: Culture, adventure, nature
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Arunachal Pradesh was awarded the most favourite upcoming tourist destination by a popular magazine recently; can you tell us what makes Arunachal Pradesh a unique tourist destination?
We have 26 major tribes and more than hundred sub-tribes. Spread over vast expanse of 83,743 square kilometres of plains, valleys, hills and mountains ranging from few hundred feet to more than ten thousand feet with nearly 525 varieties of orchids, more than 500 different types of birds, rich flora and fauna, Arunachal is a haven for nature lovers. We have mixture of nature’s bounty and colourful tribes offering salubrious environment and diverse tribal culture. Arunachal Pradesh has got a huge scope for cultural and adventure tourism activities and offers authentic ethnic cuisines, besides of course, being a place of solace and spirituality to the wearing soul and body.

Are you planning to introduce any new circuits? Which places/activities are you promoting within the state?
Presently we have 11 circuits. The department has already started initiative to introduce more tourist circuits in the eastern districts bordering Nagaland, which has not yet been covered. We are concentrating now on some already popular destinations like Tawang, Ziro, Menchuka, Pasighat, Namdapha etc. and expanding to the lesser known but highly potential tourist destinations across the state. We are mostly promoting the adventure based activities like Rafting, Paragliding, Trekking and cultural based activities like festivals of different tribes. Birding is also very popular here.

What is the kind of tourist footfall seen over the years?
We have seen that many foreign tourists come to experience the tribal culture mostly during festival seasons of different tribe. We believe that they carry the good impression of the hospitality and generosity showered on them by locals during such festivals, carrying back home good memories, and of course leaving behind a footmark.

What steps have to taken to increase tourism footfall? Does Arunachal Pradesh see as many foreign tourists as domestic travellers?
The department has made a lot of efforts to increase the tourist inflow through conducting cultural, musical and adventure sports event. Recently, we have conducted International Tourist Mart at Tawang, Ziro festival of music, Mechuka Adventures Sports Festival, to name a few, which have drawn national and international audience. With such efforts, we believe to increase the tourism footfall. Arunachal Pradesh has seen higher inflow of domestic tourists than international tourists.

What kind of development are you looking in to make travel easier for the tourists i.e. Infrastructure or Hotels facilities?
Infrastructural development is the main focus as of now to make easier for the tourists. Providing sensitisation training on tourism to Police personnel and other stake holders are part of our regular programme for responsible and safe tourism. Tourism Trade Act is now at a nascent stage, and once come into force, we will be able to have better check and control over hotels in the greater interest of domestic and International tourists.

You conducted the International Tourism Mart (ITM), in January 2013; can you tell us what kind of response you got from the mart?
The 2nd edition of International Tourism mart was held in Tawang in October 2013 which was a huge success. As many as 69 delegates from 22 Countries  participated in the event, and the number of B2B (Business to Business) meeting jumped to over 270 % of the B2B meeting of the 1st Edition of ITM which was held in January, 2013 in Guwahati.
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