Union Minister of State for Tourism KJ Alphons on Tuesday assured that he will take up at the proper level the issue of northeastern states being kept as Level II destinations by many countries. He also said that he would look into the issue of having direct flights from foreign countries to northeastern states to boost the tourism in this part of the country. Alphons said this while speaking at the 6th International Tourism Mart, being held in Guwahati this year. The two-day travel mart, which got underway at a luxury hotel in the city on Tuesday, was inaugurated by Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi.
The Union Minister, while appreciating the tourism potential of the northeastern states, also appealed the state governments to market the tourism potentials of the region jointly and said that the diversity of the region is uncommon to any other part of the world. “I am going to take up the issue that many countries like Japan had kept northeastern states of India in Level II category destinations. I am assuring you today that these obstacles would be removed at the earliest,” said the Minister. “I am also going to take up with the Ministry of Civil Aviation the issue of having direct flights to northeastern states from foreign countries. In last one year, our government has many new airports across the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has special interest for the northeast,” he said.
It may be mentioned here that Assam Tourism Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had just returned to the state from Japan after holding a road show, told the Union Minister that Japan has kept Assam and other northeastern states as Level II destinations, which has made it difficult for the tour operators to market the tourism potentials of the region. Sarma also raised the issue of northeast having lack of direct flights from foreign countries and said that the government of India needs to make it aviation policy flexible so that northeastern states can have direct air connectivity with foreign countries, particularly with its neighbouring countries. The 6th International Tourism Mart Is expected to put the spotlight on India’s “Act East Policy”, blossoming ties with ASEAN and the larger East Asia region, home to the world’s rapidly growing economies and India’s emerging tourism markets.