NEW DELHI- Assam Tourism Minister, Jayanta Malla Baruah met leading tour operators from Delhi to promote Assam as tourist destination and to strengthen cooperation with tourism partners.
As many as 25 Delhi based tour operators, travel agents and travel journal houses gathered at the conference hall of Assam House here late evening on Wednesday to prepare attractive packages for promoting the state in a big way.
The Tourism Minister asked the tour operators to work in tandem with the Tourism department and other stakeholders to promote the tourism sector which has huge potential with its rich cultures, traditions, flora and fauna and make the state a tourist destination.
Baruah asked the tour operators to come up with attractive packages that cater to the tastes of the tourists visiting different destinations. The Minister said the government would arrange to take the tour operators from Delhi to Assam for a familiarisation tour that would help them to make packages tailored to the needs of tourists.
“The Tourism Minister has asked the tour operators to come up with mutually beneficial strategies and packages that will greatly boost tourism in the state. It augurs well that the leading tour operators have evinced keen interest in the tourism industry in Assam,” said a tourism official, adding that they are happy that tourism has been declared as an industry in Assam and that a tourist-friendly atmosphere prevails in Assam.
Emerging from the meeting which lasted for more than an hour, Minister Baruah told mediapersons that the meeting with leading tour operators from Delhi has been convened at a very short notice and that the response has been overwhelming.
The Minister disclosed that there has been a whopping increase of tourist footfalls of 573% in domestic tourists and 783% in foreign tourists in 2023 in the state following a sea change in the law and order situation during the past two years of the present state government with no protests and bandhs taking place, improved and developed infrastructure and coming up of new branded hotels, including five star hotels and resorts in Guwahati, Kaziranga, Manas and elsewhere.
Baruah said that the overall feedback from the tour operators and those who visited Assam was very encouraging and that would provide the much-needed impetus to the tourism sector. “More than the road shows, what I feel is that today’s one-to-one meeting with tour operators has been more impactful and fruitful with valuable feedback and suggestions received from them which will enable us to make the tourism sector in the state more vibrant and resilient in the days ahead,” he quipped.
The Minister said that the state government has been taking a slew of initiatives to promote tourism such as organising road shows in metropolitan cities and taking part in marts and fairs in the country and abroad.
The Minister disclosed that the government is keen to revamp the Assam Tourist Information Centre at Connaught Place in order to make it more functional so that it can gear up to promote tourism in Delhi-NCR. Earlier, accompanied by officials of the Tourism department, Baruah took stock of the facilities at the centre and also interacted with the officials and employees to get first hand account of the problems confronting them and how to resolve them in right earnest.
Later taking to Twitter handle, Minister Baruah said, “In a dedicated effort to enhance Assam’s tourism industry from all angles, interacted with over 20 esteemed stakeholders, including Tour Operators, Travel Agents, and Travel Journal Houses today. By seeking their valuable insights and inputs, we aim to implement comprehensive measures that will lead to the overall improvement of tourism in Assam.”
Some of the tour operators presented their views, saying that the congenial atmosphere prevailing in Assam will go a long way in promoting tourism in a big way in the state.
They pointed out that barring some incidents of lack of professionalism of drivers to handle tourists, the rest of the sector is quite up to the mark. At this, the Minister apprised them that upskilling and training of drivers at LGBI Airport has been done and more such trainings are being undertaken to infuse a sense of professionalism.
Director, Noble House Tours Pvt.Ltd., Naveen Jain said, “A coordinated approach is needed among all the North Eastern States to boost the tourism sector in the region as a whole.”
Jain said the tourism industry in Assam in particular and the Northeast in general should focus on niche products with emphasis on quality tourism, not quantity tourism.
“Cultural tourism, historical, religious tourism, wildlife tourism, adventure tourism will play a major role to develop and bring in revenue for the state and the region,” said a lady operator and advocated establishing a common platform of all eight states of the region to ‘market together as one brand in both national and international travel fairs and festivals.’
Earlier, the Tourism officials gave first-hand insight of facilities and development of infrastructure to the tour operators. “The rich cultural and natural heritage of Assam has aptly become our unique selling point,” said an official. The officials exuded the optimism that the meet would ‘create a stronger, healthier relation in business environment and for the growth of tourism in the state in the right manner’.
Describing tour operators as ‘image-builders of the country,’ Deputy Director, Assam Tourist Information Centre, New Delhi, Jayanta Sarma said, “The purpose behind the meet with leading tour operators of Delhi was to create better coordination and understanding, building relationship, promotion of the State of Assam to the rest of India and outside world, and doing business through B2B.”
Secretary, Tourism, Padmapani Bora, Tourist Information Officer, New Delhi, Ananya Borthakur, among others, were present in the meeting.