- The 6th International Tourism Mart (ITM) was conducted from 5-7th of December 2017 in Guwahati, Assam.
- This Mart was organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in association with the North Eastern states.
- ITM was inaugurated by the Governor of Assam, Mr. Jagdish Mukhi along with the Chief Minister of Assam Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal and Union Tourism Minister Mr. K. L Alphons.
- The International Tourism Mart is an annual event organized in the North Eastern states on a rotation basis.
- Its objective is to highlight the tourism potential of the North Eastern Region in domestic and international markets.
- The earlier editions of this mart were held in Guwahati, Shillong, Tawang, Gangtok and Imphal.
- The North Eastern region of India comprising states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura are bestowed with diverse tourist attractions, flora and fauna, varied topography, ethnic communities with their rich heritage of ancient traditions and lifestyles, arts and crafts and products- which makes it an ideal tourist destination.
- The main idea behind this Tourism Mart is connecting North east not only with other parts of India but also with the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries comprising Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Brunei and Philippines.
- It will help in India’s “Act East Policy”.
- If India wants to connect with ASEAN countries, the easiest way would be through the North eastern states. India can connect the roads starting from the North Eastern states to Myanmar, extending to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. From there it can go up to Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Philippines.
- Therefore it will give India an opportunity to expand its market to the ASEAN countries and explore their markets as well. India can become one of the highest exporters to these countries.
- Many of the ASEAN countries are concerned with the strategies that China is adopting (related to the South China Sea and establishing Choke Points). So it will be a very good opportunity for India to develop relations with the ASEAN countries at this very point of time.
Highlights of the International Tourism Mart
- It will put spotlight on India’s “Act East Policy”.
- It will strengthen ties with the ASEAN countries and the larger East Asia region, which is home to the world’s rapidly growing economies and India’s emerging tourism markets.
- This event will highlight the tourism potential of the North East Region in the domestic as well as the international markets.
- It brought together the tourism business fraternity and entrepreneurs from the eight North Eastern states.
- It also held panel discussions, workshops, business to business (B2B) meetings, cultural programs etc.
The panel discussions focused on promoting:
- i) Cultural Ties
- ii) People-to-people contact with countries in the ASEAN region providing enhanced connectivity to the states of North Eastern region with other countries in the neighbourhood, thereby developing inter-regional tourism between the ASEAN and the North East Region of India.
- iii) It had an active participation from the Ministry of DONER (Development of North Eastern Region) to synergize the process of development of tourism in the North Eastern states.
- It facilitated interaction between the 66 foreign delegates participating in this mart, comprising stakeholders and media persons from 29 countries across the world (Australia, Bhutan, Brunei, Canada, China, Cambodia, Cyprus, Fiji, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Tanzania, Thailand, USA, UK, Vietnam, Turkey and South Korea.), 50 domestic stake holders in Tourism sector and 103 sellers from the North Eastern states.
- Representatives of State Tourism Departments of these North East States were also present to showcase their tourism destinations and to interact with the delegates.
- Presentations were given by the state governments on their tourism potential, cultural evenings, and sightseeing visits to local attractions in and around Guwahati.
- An exhibition by State Tourism Departments from the North Eastern States including display of beautiful handicrafts and handlooms was also organised to showcase the tourism products of respective participating States.
ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)
- It is a regional inter-governmental organisation comprising ten Southeast Asian states which promotes economic, political, security, military, educational and socio-cultural integration amongst its members and Asian states.
- It was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Later on its membership expanded to Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
- Its principal aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress, and socio-cultural evolution among its members, alongside the protection of regional stability and the provision of a mechanism for member countries to resolve differences peacefully.
- ASEAN is an official United Nations Observer, as well as an active global partner.
- ASEAN has established itself as a platform for Asian integrations and cooperation, working with other Asian nations to promote unity, prosperity, development and sustainability of the region, as well as working on solutions to resolve disputes and problems in the region.
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