Three female bikers — from Assam, Nagaland and Mizoram – are on a road journey to promote tourism in the north east region. The trio who are promoting their trip on social media are touring all the 7 sister states of the Northeast Indian region within a span of 7 days
Three young female bikers — NirmaliNath from Assam, OnenNentyfrom Nagaland, and Rosalynn Lushaifrom Mizoram – recently embarked on a road trip to promote tourism in the north east region. The trio — brought together by social media — toured all seven sister states of the Northeast Indian region within a span of seven days. Elina Satapathy, Partner, Seven Sisters holidays,which was the event and logistics partner for this event, shares her experience. She says, “The idea was to showcase the North East through the eyes of these bikers who will use this opportunity to break stereotypes and redefine the Northeast.They visited different places and showcased the local people and their hospitality which will definitely create an awareness about the region which is otherwise less explored.”
The ride was flagged off from Guwahati on 3 April, 2021 and was flagged in at Kaziranga on 10 April 2021. On the way, they touched Shillong before halting at Silchar. From there, they rode through Agartala, Aizawl, Jiribam in Manipur, before riding to the capital, Imphal. From Imphal, they headed to Kohima in Nagaland and then to Dimapur, the state’s commercial capital. Onwards, they rode to Tezpur in Assam, before heading to the final Northeast destination in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh.
This event was supported by the local tour operators and associations who took out time to meet them and appreciate their efforts by felicitating them. To name a few are Tripura Tourism Development Forum, Manipur Tourism Forum, Nagaland Tourism Association and Arunachal Pradesh Tour Operators’ Association.
Satapathy adds, “I, being a woman as well as a travel professional thought I could do justice by being associated with the event. So I decided to go ahead and help these three young lady bikers to achieve the mission.The biggest challenge was the itinerary and the road conditions as our goal was to complete the ride to Seven States States in Seven Days. If you go through the routing then you can see that on some days they had to ride more than 300 kms.Another challenge was they were only three women riding through the North East without any support vehicle, security or mechanic.Last but not the least,finance was a big issue. We tried to get sponsorships from various quarters whether Government or non-government agencies but we did not get any. This may be due to less time in hand and it was the financial closing time for all.”
Protocols not an issue
She says that the SOPs riding through different state were not an issue at the time of the journey as they were riding within the North East and at most of the places they could move freely. They had their RT-PCR done wherever required. “Also, the Inner Line Permits are issued at the entry point in most states. So they did not face any problem. They had to go for online ILP in Arunachal Pradesh only,” she says.
Satapathy adds that most tours in the region are covered by road only. “We do not have proper air connection between the states apart from few. So basically the North East tour is a driving tour. Regarding permits, it’s not as difficult as you think. Most states are issuing permits online and some on arrival. If you book your tour through an experienced tour operator then they will take care of everything,”she explains.
Promoting domestic tourism
There were two aims in undertaking this journey.“If you do a survey outside North East, you will findthat most of the citizens don’t know much about this region. And some have negativeperceptions about the people, safety and so many other things. This was an attempt to showthe world how hospitable the local people here are. If three ladies can ride through the terrainall by themselves then it is definitely safe for everybody. We also want to convey to adventure lovers that it’s a heaven for bikers and self-driving experience,” Satapathy adds.
Sheadds that the North Eastern region is also the least-infested area by Covid-19. “So right now when the lockdown has been lifted in so many states, people are willing to travel. But as international flight operations have not started, people are looking for new destinations within India and North East is on their wish list.Of course, lockdown has been imposed again in some states. But let’s hope that this phase will also pass and people will start travelling freely again,” she says.
Whatever little has been written about the North East is not enough to create a positive awareness among travellers, Satapathysays. “We need to carry out campaigns in various places within India and abroad so that more and more people will come to know about the place and visit the region.At the same time we need to control mass tourism so that the region does not lose its splendorin the process,” she adds.