Over 1.18 crore domestic and 1.04 lakh foreign tourists visited the North eastern states of India in 2022, the Parliament was informed on Monday (27 March).
Further, to enhance regional air connectivity in the region and promote tourism, airports in the North Eastern Region (NER) at Rupsi, Tezu, Tezpur, Pasighat, Jorhat, Lilabari, Shillong, Pakyong, Itanagar and Dimapur involving 64 routes have been operationalised under Centre's UDAN scheme.
The government had launched the Regional Connectivity Scheme - UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) in 2016 to enhance regional air connectivity across the country from underserved airports and making air travel affordable.
"As per provisional data from Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, 118.45 lakh domestic and 1.04 lakh foreign tourists visited the North Eastern States during the year 2022," Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region G Kishan Reddy said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
Currently, there are 16 operational airports in the North Eastern region, the minister said, adding that an Advanced Landing Ground at Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh has also been operationalised.
On the rail connectivity in the region, Reddy informed that the Ministry of Railways has planned/sanctioned/executed 14 new line projects covering 1,181 km, of which 361 km has been commissioned.
Additionally, five doubling projects covering a length of 728 km have been planned/sanctioned/executed, of which 48 kms has been commissioned.
On road projects, the minister said that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has taken up/sanctioned national highway development works of 5137 km in the North Eastern Region.
To support infrastructure projects relating to water supply, power, and connectivity in the tourism sector in the region, the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER) provides assistance under the North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS).
MDoNER through the North Eastern Council (NEC) also supports tourism infrastructure development projects to promote tourism in the region, the minister said.
"The NEC has taken various initiatives to create a barrier free environment for growth of tourism in the NER including holding consultative meetings with tourism stakeholders like North East Tourism Departments, North East Tour operators etc. to discuss the challenges and way forward on the development of tourism sector in NER; round table discussion on developing a framework for seamless tourist movements to North Eastern States of India organized by Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Shillong," Reddy said.
Further, the MDoNER is implementing the Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region (PM-DevINE) scheme to fill the development gaps in various sectors, including tourism.
The minister further said that the Centre has taken the ‘Yuva Sangam’ initiative to strengthen people to people connect especially between youth belonging to North Eastern Region and other states and provide an immersive experience under five broad areas – Paryatan (Tourism), Parampara (Traditions), Pragati (Development), Prodyogiki (Technology) and Paraspar Sampark (People-to-people connect).
The government is also implementing various schemes in the country, such as the Swadesh Darshan Scheme and the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD), for the integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits and identified pilgrimage and heritage destinations, respectively.
Under its scheme of “Assistance to Central Agencies for Tourism Infrastructure Development” it has sanctioned viewpoints and wayside amenities in the North Eastern Region, the minister said.
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