The 8th edition of the International Tourism Mart began in Imphal, Manipur on Saturday Credit: EastMojo image

Imphal: The eighth edition of the International Tourism Mart (ITM) of the Northeast region was kick-started at Imphal Hotel in state capital Imphal amid much fanfare on Saturday evening.

The three-day event was inaugurated by Union minister of state (independent) for culture and tourism Prahlad Singh Patel and Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh in presence of a host of state ministers, dignitaries from Central ministries and other Northeastern states.

Organised by Union ministry of tourism in association with the Northeast states, the event is being held with an aim to highlight and create awareness of the diverse tourist attractions and products of the region.

The platform will also give a first-hand experience of the region to the participants, including buyers from both international and domestic, government agencies, stakeholders and media delegates from various nations.

Addressing the august gathering, Union minister Patel stated that owing to the rich cultural heritage and scenic view to attracting, the entire Northeast region has witnessed 47% growth in terms of foreign visitors in the region over the years, adding that this was a good sign for the development of Northeast.

Patel also informed that India had jumped into the World Travel and Tourism Index from 40th to 34th position this year. Moreover, the minister also disclosed that with the reduction in e-visa fees and a reduction in GST rates on hotel rooms, India has seen a rise of tourist inflow in the country.

Manipur is hosting the annual mart for the second time. Earlier, the event was also held in cities like Guwahati, Tawang, Shillong, Gangtok and Agartala.

Speaking at the event, CM Singh said: “Over the years, this annual event has become one of the most impactful platforms for stakeholders in the tourism industry for promoting the sector through exchange of business and ideas.”

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“The International Tourism Mart must continue to generate a tangible outcome, to commensurate with its objective of highlighting the tourism in domestic and international markets,” he added.

A total of 36 foreign buyer delegates from over 19 countries, including Australia, Canada, Cambodia, Czech, Dubai, Italy, Japan, Oman, Korea, Myanmar, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, USA, UK, and Vietnam are taking part in the ongoing mart.

During the three-day event, buyers will engage in business-to-business meetings with sellers from the Northeast region and explore the tourism potential of the region in the domestic and international markets.

Moreover, the tourism product suppliers from the region will reach out to international and domestic buyers for business collaborations and investment during the event.

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