The panelists in the session were Jahnabi Phookan, Director of JTI Group and PP Khanna, Director, Diplomatic Travel Point Private Limited and President of Association of Domestic Tour Operations of India (ADTOI).
Travel entrepreneur Jahnabi Phookan spoke about how the Northeast is lagging behind as compared to famous tourist destinations elsewhere in India.
She said, “Northeast is a late starter; however this is a good thing and should be regarded as a boon. We can learn and not make the mistakes that other tourist spots have made. We are unique in our own way.”
“Let us forge our own tourism story, our brand equity. We do not want over-tourism. We will try to remove the negative effects of tourism in the northeast,” she further said.
Meanwhile, PP Khanna stated that people are more inclined towards nature after the Covid-19 pandemic and are also started to stay away from crowded places.
He said, “There is lot of potential in the northeast but we lack behind in promotion. There is a lot of diversity in dance, music, culture, which we just need to promote. We must promote unexplored destinations in the northeast.”
Khanna also mentioned that there is no unified USP in northeast in terms of tourism.
Jahnabi Phukan stressed on involving more young people in the tourism sector.
She said, “Tourism is one of the highest employed industries. More people including the youth must be involved in this sector.”
“Everyone wants sustainable tourism nowadays. The government and private players are responsible for development of the tourism sector. Public-private partnership works best for tourism. All sectors including hotel industries, transport, etc. should work together,” she further said.
On the other hand, PP Khanna said that the demography of the Northeast hampers in flourishing tourism.
Khanna said, “Need for connectivity is important in the NE. But construction of roads, airports, etc. is difficult due to its terrain. However, all things take time. We are moving in the right direction.”
He also pointed out about the movement of vehicles from one state to another. He said that there should be one permit and transport should be hassle-free.