More than 30 lakh tourists visited NE in 2006

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Agartala, May 21 (UNI) More than 30.5 lakh tourists from the country, besides 38,000 foreign tourists, visited the Northeastern states during 2006 and the number has increased substantially last year.

Official sources said here today that a report of the Union Tourism Ministry stated that the Centre had been taking initiatives to popularise the NE region as a holiday destination for both people from the country and abroad as well as continuously promoting the region through publicity campaigns in the print, online and electronic media.

In order to tap the immense tourism potential of the region, the Ministry had made concerted efforts to upgrade infrastructure and ensure better connectivity of important tourist destinations and circuits of NE states, the report stated.

It emphasised that all projects, sanctioned in the first three years of the 10th Five Year Plan for the region, must be completed and commissioned by December this year and actual implementation of the sanctioned projects will be closely monitored by the Centre.

Outlining the preparation of Detailed Project Reports for tourism projects, the report stated that the maintenance of assets was a must and in the absence of a proper institutional mechanism for solid waste management and civic amenities at sites, further projects would not be considered for sanction.

The Ministry Secretary briefed about the tourism strategy and the status of implementation of projects in the region to the officials of the NE states and apprised them of the recent decision regarding LTC for government officials, which would boost tourism to the region.

However, the representatives of NE tourism department emphasised that guidance from the Tourism Ministry on creative and publicity aspects was essential for better marketing of their tourism products while the states also stressed that relaxation of permits was necessary for facilitating travel.

The tour operators were also informed that the Marketing Development Assistance guidelines had been amended to enable tour operators from the NE region to participate in the International Marts and at all these Marts, space would be provided free of cost for the participants of the NE states.

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