Itanagar: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday flagged off the ‘Dekho Apna Pradesh’ campaign in presence of Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and Tourism Minister Nakap Nalo here from the D K Convention Centre.

‘Dekho Apna Pradesh’, a brainchild of Khandu conceptualised in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ campaign, is an attempt to promote tourism within the state to heal the damage caused to the sector by the COVID 19 pandemic.

As Arunachal Pradesh is geographically a big state, Khandu claimed that not many of its residents must have visited places other than their work place or residency.

“I bet not all of us must have visited all the tourist places of the district other than our own. Ours is such a vast state and there’s so much to see and learn of other tribes, culture and places. This campaign is to encourage our people to visit other places of their own state. This will not only benefit the tourism sector but also create awareness on the diversity of the state bringing in unity,” he said.

In the first phase of the campaign, stakeholders like tour operators, home stay owners, transporters, hoteliers, bloggers, etc will travel on different tourist circuits of the state in groups.

“I may not be wrong if I claim that even not all stakeholders, especially the tour operators, must have visited all tourist places of the state. Therefore, we are facilitating them to travel to other districts in the first phase of the campaign,” Khandu informed.

He said that this would not only let the stakeholders gain first-hand knowledge of the places they visit but also get acquainted with local stakeholders and even land up with business deals.

Khandu requested the stakeholders to come back benefited from the 10-day visits and encourage local people of their respective areas to explore places within the state.

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“This way people will become aware of their state and at the same time contribute in their revenue generation,” he said.

He also requested all stakeholders to create awareness within the locals in hospitality etiquettes.

“We have to teach our people to be good hosts, change our mindset of looking at every new face with suspicion and to have welcoming attitude towards all. Unless we do this, no amount of campaign will succeed,” he said.

Citing tourism as one of the best sectors for investment, the Chief Minister made a call to well-to-do businessmen, entrepreneurs and youths of the state to invest in tourism along with agriculture and allied sectors. He said returns will come good and fast as these sectors are the future of the state.

Reiterating his push for high-end tourism in line with that of Bhutan, Khandu stressed on quality in service with authentic information. He said all tour operators along with District Tourism Officers and Tourist Information Officers should be well equipped with the history, culture and importance of all tourist places in their jurisdictions.

“Whatever information you pass on to visitors must be authentic. Tourists should not leave the state loaded with misinformation,” he cautioned.

Assuring that the state government is committed to promote tourism in the state, Khandu gave details of the schemes like Chief Minister’s Paryatan Shiksha Yojana (CMPSY), Chief Minister’s Paryatan Vikas Yojana (CMPVY) and the Chief Minister’s Advanced Certificate Course (CMACC).

Under CMPSY youths from the hospitality sector are sent to reputed institutes for training, while under CMPVY, a value-added subsidy scheme, funds are granted for opening home stays, restaurants, bakery, food courts and adventure sports. Under the CMACC, youths are trained in adventure and allied sports for which government has tied up with the Dirang-based National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (NIMAS).

“Under CMPVY about 200 youths have benefited in establishing home stays and adventure sports centres while 100 have availed subsidies to open bakeries and restaurants. Further, so far about 225 youths have been trained for adventure tourism under the CMACC,” Khandu informed.

Under the first phase of the ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ campaign, 60 participants divided in 3 groups (A, B & C) would embark on a 10-day journey of various tourism circuits of western, eastern and central Arunachal where they would learn more about the area’s culture, heritage, food habits and most importantly its tourism aspects.

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