Imphal, Dec 13(ANI): Manipur Tourism Festival 2009, the annual cultural festival organized under the aegis of the Tourism Department, started with fanfare on Friday at Hafta Kangjeibung in Imphal.
The festival showcases the convergence of the culture of Manipur with other north eastern states of the country.
Tourism festival aims at promoting and sustaining tourism in the north-east by showcasing the richness of the Manipuri culture and heritage, by portraying its art and culture and exhibiting crafts, indigenous sports along with tourist spots of the state.
In all, 300 stalls including representatives from outside the state have been put up in the festival.
The development of tourism is vital in progress of the state, which has been affected by insurgency.
The Union Government's policy to develop the north-eastern region, the 'look east policy', is closely related to the tourism scenario of Manipur.
"The tourism department can play a major role in making the 'look east policy' a success because the look east policy is a combination of many activities like industry, commerce, agriculture and tourism. It is indeed the most important area to make the look east policy successful," said PC Lawmkunga, Principal Secretary of Manipur.
The most interesting aspect of the festival this time is the participation from Thailand.
"I am happy to be in Imphal. It feels like home. We are no different. We have 17 companies. We have jewelry, clothe stalls over here. I will like to invite all the Manipuri people and guests to visit the stalls and see the handicrafts and other products. We are in Imphal and we are happy. We enjoy food, we enjoy hospitality by Manipuri people. We are the same," said Tharadol Thongruang ,Counselor of the Royal Thai Embassy.
He also pointed out that there is close cultural affinity between the people of East Asia and Manipur and expressed desire for organizing similar festival in Thailand as well.
On promotion of Manipur as an important destination of the tourists, it was noted by the authorities that there is an immediate need for improving the existing infrastructure and adding new one.
The festival will conclude on December 19. (ANI)