ITM first step to relink NE India with South East Asia: Chiranjeevi

Guwahati, Jan 19 (ANI): In all 450 cultural ambassadors of eight NE states and West Bengal in their best traditional attires presented a unity dance to the tune of a melodious number spelling magic among the participating foreign delegates that marked the beginning of the three-day International Trade Mart-2013 at Sarusajai stadium here today.

The programme continued the whole day with presentation by noted artistes from the region, including Arunchal pradesh's state singer Taba Yall.

"The ITM is the first step in re-establishing close link between the NE India and the rich South East Asian nations and also reopening the historic Stillwell road of World War-II. This is in tune with the 'Look East policy' of the Government of India as spelt out by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during his last visit to Myanmar," Union Minister of State for Tourism Dr K Chirnajeevi said.

He said that he is leaving for Lao on January 20 to attend the ASEAN Tourist Summit and sing a memorandum of understating with the ASEAN countries to promote India's nature and adventure tourism as well as niche tourism products, particularly the unexplored and lesser known destinations of NE India.

The NE states being complementary to each other are bracketed together and the MoT through its special dispensation in promoting the tourism sector of this isolated region, Dr Chiranjeevi said in his inaugural address to the tourism carnival earlier.

"India aims at increasing its share of global tourists flow from present 0.6 percent to one percent", the MoS said, adding a sum of Rs 560 crore has been allotted during 11th Five Year Plan by MoT for developing quality tourism infrastructures in NE region; NE states are provided with free space at WTM, London and ITB, Berlin; familiarisation tours of NE people are conducted to North and Eastern India.

Moreover, centrally-funded Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology is being set up in Arunachal, Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura to promote hospitality industry. All these steps aimed at accelerating growth of NE's tourism sector, he said.

As the inaugural session ended, the foreign delegates, tour operators and journalists thronged the stalls. Arunachal stall was the cynosure of all eyes receiving maximum visitors and queries.

In technical session later, Arunachal's Parliamentary Secretary PD Sona and Tourism Secretary Sonam Chombay made an impressive presentation showcasing the tourism potential of the state to the applause of the delegates. (ANI)

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