The northeast states need to focus on developing and promoting regional tourism, says President of Tour Operators Association of Assam (TOAA) Debajit Borah, who is also the Director of Brahmaputra Cruise.
For the travel trade and tourism in the north eastern part of India to grow again, we will have to wait for the situation to improve further, says Debajit Borah, the newly-elected president of Tour Operators Association of Assam (TOAA). “The situation was getting better but what is observed that with the easing out on travel protocols, we were struck with a more stern and sudden outbreak of the virus. We will now have to wait for the situation to improve and, once the situation improves, we will need to be more careful on the travel protocols so that another surge in infections does not happen. In the meantime, we may need to focus on regional tourism keeping our boundaries tight especially in case of the northeastern states,” he suggests.
However, Borah adds that although regional tourism does not help the local tour operators much, it provides sustainability to the other stakeholders of tourism. “And considering the geographical and cultural trait of the region, travel within the seven states can be a big support to the tourism industry of the region. Till then we need to keep our fingers crossed and wait for the situation to improve,” Borah adds.
Under his leadership, TOAA recently celebrated World Environment Day by going live on Facebook and has pledged to plant 10,000 saplings once the lockdown is lifted. According to Borah, tourism and environment has to go hand-in-hand and TOAA members will always work on this path.
Sharing his perspective on some of the lessons that have been learnt over the last one year, Borah says, “COVID-19 has changed the world in many ways. Not only the current surge in infection, but the one which hit us in March 2020 has forced people to have a different perspective towards life and without any doubt, businesses how small or big have changes in their strategies and functioning. Though it is also true that we have seen some shifts in trade to other more lucrative trades considering COVID, most of the travel trade operators in Northeast are still in the travel business trying out new strategies for their survival. The industry is also hopeful that the respective governments of the state will come out with some practical schemes in support of the tourism industry so that the efforts put into in the last decade or so, in developing the region as the most sought-after destination does not go in vain.”