GUWAHATI: The NE region, which boasts of its bountiful natural beauty, is less traversed by domestic and international tourists alike because of its geographical challenges restricting access to the region.
A survey done by Hotelivate, in collaboration with World Travel and Tourism Council – India Initiative (WTTC- II) for 2017, has positioned NE states at the bottom of its biennial state rankings, making the region the least favoured tourism destination.
According to the survey, Assam received 5,160,599 domestic and 12,685 foreign tourists last year. During the same period, Tamil Nadu received 34,38,12,413 domestic tourists, which is 66 times more than Assam. The southern state also received 47,21,978 foreign tourists in the same period. The exotically colourful Nagaland got the least number of domestic tourists (58,178), while Mizoram received the lowest number of foreign tourists – 942 to be precise.
The overall rankings were drawn by surveying the states in 11 parameters – state expenditure on tourism, number of tourist visits, number of branded hotel rooms, GSDP per capital, literacy, aircraft movement, ease of doing business, urbanization, road and rail network, urbanization, marketing campaigns – and some intangible aspects.
Sikkim has been placed at the 22nd position in the overall rankings among 30 states followed by Mizoram (23), Tripura (24), Assam (26), Nagaland (27), Manipur (28), Arunachal Pradesh (29) and Meghalaya at the bottom (30).
The survey noted, “Having analysed the trend over the past four editions of this report, it is quite evident that the NE states in certain cases are unable to compete on a par with other states in the country owing to a host of challenges. While each state is blessed with natural beauty, the very same geographic challenges restrict access to and within the states. Similarly, all NE states do not have the presence of any branded hotel supply.”
However, Assam has witnessed the emergence of branded hotel rooms of late.
Taking into account the unique problems of the region, Hotelivate, for the first time, has gauged the competition between NE states ‘to ascertain which states have overcome their challenges and thrived and which have succumbed to their weaknesses.” Sikkim, Mizoram and Tripura have been surveyed as the top performers among the NE states.
Assam has bagged the prize for the best policy and leadership in tourism. A special mention in the survey says, “As of August, 2017, Odisha leads the states in policy reforms, attaining 5.9% progress of its goals, followed by Assam (3.2%). While most other states are currently under 2% mark, 11 states in the country are yet to commence work, presently exhibiting 0% progress.”