Build up from grass-roots

Regional associations and chapters in the north east of India came together recently on a virtual platform to discuss creation of a common plan of action to foresee a holistic and harmonized re-opening for tourism in a synchronised manner, right from the grass-root levels in the new normal.

Hazel Jain

In a heart-warming show of unity, all regional associations and chapters of the north east region of India came together to form a common plan of action to foresee a holistic and harmonized re-opening for tourism. Arijit Purkayastha, Chapter Chairman – North East for Association of Domestic Tour operators of India, said that good relationship between the tour operators and the hoteliers would be vital for the revival of tourism. “The key factors would be trust, coordination, smooth exchange of information and use of constructive resolution techniques. Another important aspect will be the cancellation policy. We also need to create itineraries with remote locations and experiential activities. There is urgent need to conduct training programmes to create awareness in rural areas. We need to go to the grass root level,” he said.

Sharing this sentiment was Debajit Borah, President, (TOAA). He said that the frontline professionals such as drivers and hotel staff need to be vaccinated so that tourists know they are safe. “We need to tell our clients that we have got our team ready to receive guests. Timely information to tourists should be a priority. Uniform norms and protocols for entire North East should be formed.” he opined.

Community and nature

According to E Banlumlang Blah, President, NEITC and President, Tour Operators Association of Meghalaya, the trade needs to help the community and support those in need. “Tourism service providers are left with no income. Circumstances compel people to do different things, especially in the rural areas, people are destroying the environment, which is precious for us. Our tourism depends on the environment. We have to take the community into confidence and educate them to avoid shortcuts,” Blah said. “As we share international borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, we can consider them as potential source markets,” he added.

Presenting an hotelier’s perspective, Sunil Saraf, President, HRAA, said, “We all are facing the problem of inadequate staff. The government is taking the lead for everyone to be vaccinated and has been targeted for end of December. We have approached the Government to declare the hotel staff as frontline workers.”  Joe RZ Thanga, General Secretary, Association Tour Operators Mizoram (ATOM),says “When the sector opens up, the trade will need to ensure the industry doesn’t become a super-spreader. We have hundreds of tour guides recently inducted by Mizoram Tourism who are being trained for COVID safety precautions, and are being updated with Public Health Guidelines so that they can adhere to them during tours. We are trying to develop remote audio devices which can help social distancing on guided tours,” he added.

 

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