Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on Monday hinted that Arunachal Pradesh would re-open its doors for tourists after October next while following the laid down COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Center from time to time.
Attending the Destination North East 2020 virtual programme organized by the Ministry of DoNER, Khandu said the tourism sector has suffered a lot in the last six months due to the pandemic, affecting livelihood of thousands while also denting the state’s revenue collections.
“Tourism is one major source of revenue and employment. Keeping all considerations in mind, we will be re-opening the sector. If everything goes well, after October we will be open to visitors,” he said.
Khandu lauded the DoNER ministry and the North East Council (NEC) for organizing the virtual festival and said it would boost tourism in the North East several notches up post-COVID pandemic.
Destination North East is a calendar event of the DoNER Ministry with an objective to taking Northeastern region to other parts of the country.
The theme of the event is ‘The Emerging Delightful Destinations’ to showcase the regions potential tourist destinations.
The 4-day event was inaugurated by Home Minister Amit Shah in presence of DoNER Minister of State Dr Jitendra Singh and chief ministers of all the eight Northeastern states on Sunday.
While stressing that ‘connectivity’ is the backbone of tourism, Khandu admitted the Center’s focus on it.
He said that in the last 6 years, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, North East has witnessed a paradigm shift in its infrastructure development.
“Thanks to Modiji’s love and concern towards the region, today we have railways, roads and airports. Several projects are under implementation while several are in the pipeline. And now with a visionary and determined DoNER Minister in Dr Jitendra Singhji, we are sure to develop at par with rest of the country,” he said.
Khandu complimented the ‘Act East’ policy of the central government, which he claimed is ushering peace and infrastructural growth in the region- the much needed ingredients for a flourishing tourism sector.
Endorsing Dr Jitendra Singh’s prediction that North East would be next tourism hub of post-COVID India, Khandu said Arunachal Pradesh with its diversity both of geographic and demographic profiles can become a center of rural, cultural and adventure tourism.
“We are committed to preserve our culture while walking the path of development. Our focus therefore is on pushing for tourism while keeping our culture and environment well preserved,” he added.
The chief minister said one fine day this pandemic will end and a new era of tourism will begin in Arunachal Pradesh in particular and the North East in general.