TOURISM IN THE STATE.
Nagaland’s tourism resources are immense. Its history, culture and the mysticism associated the customs and ways of its hill tribes has been the source of great curiosity to not only Indians but people all over the world. It is a land of charm, diverse in landscape, culture and offers opportunities for whole range of Tourism activities, which to date has not been fully tapped.
Tourism however was a later starter in Nagaland as it was only in 1981, that the Department of Tourism came to its own when it was bifurcated from the Department of Information & Public Relations. The last two decade or so has not witness much development and at present the number of tourists coming to Nagaland is negligible.
The available figures show that during the last 5 years the number of domestic tourists has arranged from 20000-25000 per year, while foreign tourists has not even crossed the figure of 900-1500 approximately so far. No doubt the state has its own constrains due to the general perceptions regarding security and law and order conditions. Though, marketing and promotional measures can partly prevail over this image, but ultimately it is the visitor’s experiences that matters and this is the area where the state needs to put maximum attention for correction of its image.
Some of the more accurate constraints to the development of tourism in Nagaland are:
i).Poor communication linkage with Nagaland and the region and also within the state.
ii) Poor condition of tourism infrastructure. The road are slow and inadequate, wayside amenities almost non-existent or where they exist, the lack in quality, cleanliness and hygiene and most places do not have decent affordable lodging of reasonable standard.
iii) Tourism has not been given the priority it deserves in the thinking process of the government, as it has been accorded merger budget allocation coupled with this distribution of this resource over too many, schemes to satisfy the local demands.
iv) Travel restrictions such as the RAP/PAP for foreign nationals and ILP for domestic visitors have greatly limited the entry of tourists to the state though it has being relaxed to a certain extent.
v) Lack of effective policies, lack of effective marketing, lack of private entrepreneurs etc. are the setbacks for the successful takeoff of tourism in the state.
These are some of the main constraints that require to be taken cognizance of, in the policy formulation. As amply proved elsewhere, it is necessary to recognize the importance of as an activity for socio-economic development for the state. A comprehensive tourism policy highlighting the objective of tourism development in the state needs to be promulgated by the government, and this policy enunciation precisely aims to point towards that direction.
The prime objectives of the policy are:
i) To provide a planned development of tourism based on promotion of domestic and international tourism.
ii) Identification of tourist potential areas and development of these resources and strengthening of the existing and viable infrastructures on a selective and intensive basis for maximum benefit to the state economy.
iii) To prepare and implement a master plan for integrated development and marketing of identified circuits.
iv) To create and provide necessary infrastructural facilities such as power, water, roads transportation accommodations etc. for development of tourism in the state.
v) To improve, diversify and expand the marketing of tourism products in the state
vi) To promote private entrepreneurship and gradually shift towards selective privatization of the Govt. infrastructure by way of leasing to private individuals/groups or firms and business houses etc.
vii) Creation of tourism infrastructure so as to preserve the distinctive handicrafts, folk arts and culture of the state and thereby attract more tourists.
viii) To take up more Rural Tourism Projects and create job opportunities and earning capacities to the local community.
ix) Promote conservation and enhancement of natural resources as regards to flora and fauna, natural beauty, forest and unique features of the state through regulated development.
x) To promote Eco-Tourism and Adventure Tourism as the state is ideal for such tourism activities.
xi) Promotion of rural ethnic, cultural, eco and adventure tourism.
xii) To create awareness about the potential of tourism and thereby, generates the growth of a tourist friendly culture.
xiii) To recognize the Department of tourism for a more effective functioning.
xiv) Development of human resource in tourism related activities.
STRATEGY FOR DEVELOPMENT.
The strategy of achieving the above objectives is outlined below:
i) Developing areas on a selective basis for integrated growth.
ii) Improvement of tourism infrastructures and services.
iii) Incentive package.
iv) Marketing and overseas publicity of destinations to ensure optimum use of existing infrastructure.
v) Enhancement of budget allocation in the state plan and linking of tourism activities schemes with other Departments.
vi) Restructuring and strengthening of the Department.
vii) Human Resource Development.
Effective coordination between various government departments and agencies for developing tourism industry by.
i) Constitution of a Nagaland tourism Council to take appropriate policy decision on steps to boost the tourism sector.
ii) Constitute a Coordination Committee for inter Departmental Coordination.
iii) Establishment of District level Coordination Committee to coordinate and regulate tourism activities at the district/village level.
iv) Formation of Village Tourism Development Board (VTDB) for community based tourism projects (CBTP).