Visit peaceful North East region:Aiyar exhorts LTC travellers

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (UNI) The entire North-East is not merely free from any extremist related activity, but among the most peaceful places in the country, DoNER Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar today said at a national conclave on promoting the region as a destination for LTC travellers.

''This fact has to be highlighted not just by the governments but also by the travel industry and the media,'' he said while seeking to allay the misplaced perceptions about the entire North-East region being unsafe and ridden with insurgency.

In his inaugural address at the ''National Conclave on Promoting North-East as a Destination for LTC Travellers'' at Vigyan Bhavan here, Mr Aiyar said a vast swathe of the region was not merely free from any extremist related activity but among the most peaceful places in the country.

He said the recent years have seen as a result of the efforts of the central government, coordinated by the Ministry of DoNER, a significant improvement in road, rail and air connectivity to the region.

''This process is being intensified to make travel to the region fast and hassle free. The Ministry is also exploring ways to incentivise LTC tourists to visit the region in consultations with the other Central Ministries concerned,'' Mr Aiyar added.

He said the conclave was a simple but significant attempt by the Ministry of DoNER to motivate the vast number of government employees, who are entitled to LTC facility, to include the North-East states in their itinerary.

The conclave, a sequel to the special summit of the north eastern council on tourism sector at Gangtok in April last year, saw presentations by the North-East states as well as by Tourism Ministry, IL&FS and WWF-India.

Indian Railways Catering and Travel Corporation (IRCTC) and Air India explained various packages and schemes being run by them for visiting the region.

A number of new measures and incentives were also being planned in coordination with the states and the hospitality industry.

The region is also seeing a great deal of activity for the construction of new hotels and other tourist facilities.

The North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy, 2007 provides a host of concessions to the industry which had, for the first time, been extended to the tourism sector.

These should encourage more and more private entrepreneurs to invest in the development of tourist facilities so that the region could get its due share in this one of the fast growing sector which would benefit the people of the region by creating employment opportunities.

A large number of central government officials, public sector employees and tour operators attended the conclave seen as an attempt to provide information and sensitise the LTC travelers about the North-East region and its potential for nature, heritage, adventure and religious tourism.

UNI AG MSJ KP1744

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