Tourism in the North East: Prospects and Challenges
Careers360 presents here an expert column by Prof. Manish Srivastava of the School of Business, Kaziranga University, in which he shares the prospects and challenges of tourism in the north-eastern part of India.
According to a study conducted by the Wharton Econometric Forecasting Association (WEFA Group) on behalf of the American Express Travel Related Service company, “Travel and Tourism is the largest industry in the world in terms of employment in almost every country of the world”. The study further points out that “Travel and tourism employment, investment, output and Value added exceed those of such major industries such as steel, automobile, textile and electronics in virtually every country”.
India’s tourism market
The statistics says that number of tourists leaving their homes is 1235 million and tourism receipts from them are $ 1220 billion in year 2016. India, popular across the world, for its destinations attracted 14.57 million international tourists with a growth rate of 9.7 % which is far better than annual growth rate worldwide which is 3.9% only. The rank of India in Tourism arrival is 25th with 1.18% market share in International tourists’ arrivals. The place of India in International tourism receipts is 13th with 1.88% market share in total international tourism receipts.
North east region of the country, as the tag line says “Paradise unexplored” is blessed by fascinating natural scenic beauty, flora and fauna, historical and cultural heritage. North East region of India is a tourism paradise, consisting of 7 states also known as Seven Sister States along with 1 brother state of Sikkim. The region can be developed as heaven for mountaineering, trekking and adventure sport too if proper infrastructure is developed and is being promoted effectively.
The eight states of North East India are not only blessed with serenenatural beauty but with salubrious weather, rich biodiversity, rare wild life, historical sites, distinct cultural and ethnic heritage and warm and welcoming people make the experience unique for the traveller also. The region offers unforgettable visits for tourists interested in wild life, religious, cultural and ethnic tourism, river cruises, golf and a host of others. Northeast of India is home to many wildlife sanctuaries like Kaziranga National Park famous for the one horned rhinoceros, Manas National Park, Nameri, Orang, Dibru Saikhowa in Assam, Namdhapha in Arunachal Pradesh, Balpakram in Meghalaya, Keibul Namjao in Manipur, Intanki in Nagaland, Khangchendzonga in Sikkim. The mighty Brahmaputra flows through the length of Assam where tourists can enjoy memorable river cruises along with the largest river island Majuliand the flowing rivers of Arunachal Pradesh which feed the Brahmaputra offering incredible white water rafting experiences.
Despite having diverse attractions, north east India witnessed 5.2 % growth in tourist arrival against 9.7% growth in India. Northeast India registered 77 lakh domestic tourists and 1.6 lakh foreign tourists in last few years. It emphasizes the need to promote Northeast India as one destination with aggressive marketing strategy and tourist packages tour on Heritage tourism, Religious tourism, Cultural tourism, Wildlife tourism, eco-tourism and adventure tourism for Northeast India.
Tourism studies at Kaziranga University
With the huge tourism potential in the region and government initiatives to promote tourism in North east, there is huge demand for skilled manpower to provide facilities to tourists ranging from hotels, tour operators, travel agency, handicrafts etc. Kaziranga University, the first career University in the region, is committed to carry forward the torch of applied knowledge and imagination to bridge the gap between major tourism industry player and their skilled manpower requirement. Presently, Kaziranga University is offering two courses in Tourism area- One is three-year BBA Tourism and Hospitality Management and the other is two-year MBA in Tourism Management. Both the programs are tailored for applicants who are keen on upgrading their professional competency in this industry. The course has been designed by International subjects experts which provides in depth knowledge and open the door to explore the practical knowledge and creativity in the area. The tie up with leading international University provides the students an opportunity to complete project work in the country with their students. The steps taken by University are going to help the government to achieve the objective of increasing International and national tourist inflow in the region.