NEW DELHI, Jan 16: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh discussed here today, tourism promotion plans for Shillong and other surrounding areas of Northeast with a group of professionals led by Member of Parliament from Tura, Meghalaya, Conrad K. Sangma and Christy Charles from Planet “M”, a Mumbai based organization engaged in promotion of music, tourism and cultural activities.
The Minister was given an audio-visual presentation about the road map conceived for placing Shillong as a tourist attraction on global platform and thereby also promoting the entire region through a similar strategy. The presentation highlighted the various options and itineraries with main focus on a 3-day holiday capsule incorporating cultural activities, meditation centres, music workshops, experience of food cuisines and trekking options.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, there is no second opinion about the fact that Shillong has not received the kind of tourism attention as it deserved and one of the factors responsible for this is the neglect or the lack of priority it has suffered over the decades. This, he said, is an irony considering the fact that Shillong is the original capital of Northeast right from the days of British Empire to the post -independence era of undivided Assam State. However, he said, in the last two years, the Modi government has done its best to fast-track and make up for the undone initiatives of the past.
Dr Jitendra Singh also disclosed that, with a view to make the Shillong Airport fully functional with wider utility, the Ministry of DoNER has offered to fund the budget required for extension of the air-strip. At the same time, he said, the Ministry of Aviation has also been approached to extend the facility at the airport and at the same time, increase the number of chopper / helicopter flights.
Some of the music groups from Meghalaya including the “Shillong Chambers” have earned world-wide acclaim through their innovative original style and can also be made part of the tourism bonanza capsule,he said.
Dr Jitendra Singh also referred to the practice of “home-stay” tourism which has caught up in a big way in Shillong and surrounding areas, and said, this is a practice which is worth emulating by other tourist destinations of the country as well.