Aizawl: Amid soul-stirring performances by a local metal band, and joy and bonhomie among visitors, the three-day International Tourism Mart for the northeast region came to a close here as Mizoram invited people to visit the state and see the “unexplored paradise”.
A massive crowd had gathered at the Assam Rifles ground here Saturday evening to see ‘The Prophets’, a rock band from Mizoram, which performed famous numbers, as food stalls and other kiosks selling traditional items and handicrafts were thronged by youths.
Mizoram’s Minister of State for Tourism Robert Romawia Royte told the gathering in Mizo language, “It was an honour for Mizoram to host the International Tourism Mart (ITM) for the first time.”
“A lot of development work will be seen in the state, especially in the tourism sector, as we invite people to visit and explore our unexplored paradise,” he said at the closing of the 10th edition of ITM here which was held from November 17-19.
Among the youths who attended the concert was, Issac, a high school student, who visited it along with some of his friends.
He did a live session on Instagram and told his audience that Mizoram awaits arrival of guests from other parts of India and abroad too.
The International Tourism Marts are organised in the northeastern states on a rotational basis. Mizoram hosted the mart for the first time. The earlier editions of the event have been held in Guwahati, Tawang, Shillong, Gangtok, Agartala, Imphal and Kohima, the tourism ministry said.
The ITM event facilitated interaction among buyers, sellers, media, government agencies, and other stakeholders. It brought together tourism business fraternity and entrepreneurs from the eight northeastern states, it said.
Stalls selling traditional stuff from Mizoram like Amla oil, old style knives, fragrant designer soaps, embroidered jackets and handicraft items attracted huge crowd as streets around the Assam Rifles’s battalion premises were filled with people till late night.
Union Minister for Tourism and Culture G Kishan Reddy, who holds the portfolio of development of the northeast region (DoNER), had addressed the inauguration ceremony of ITM that was hosted at the R Dengthuama Indoor Stadium here.
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh, minister Royte, among others had also attended the inaugural ceremony.
At a press conference here, ahead of the opening, Reddy had said that some of the meetings of the influential group are planned to be held across the Northeast region and Mizoram capital Aizawl will host one of these. Guwahati may host multiple meetings, he had said.
“We have to use this occassion (G20 meetings) to showcase our cultural and traditional heritage to the foreign guests,” Reddy told the gathering at the inauguration.
The 10th ITM for the northeast region also focussed on “priorities of G20 for tourism track” since India will assume the yearlong presidency of the influential group for a year from December 1 to November 30 next year.
Over 200 meetings will be held in India across 55 locations in this period.
Mizoram is endowed with picturesque scenic beauty with mountains, waterfalls, and scenic locations which offer majestic views of floating clouds.
In his address at the inaugural event, Zoramthanga invited people to visit his state and “breathe clean air” and enjoy its scenic beauty.
Manisha Saxena, principal secretary, Mizoram Tourism, during a presentation made on the occasion said, “Mizoram has 90 per cent of its area under forest cover with its altitude and geographic locations, and pleasant climate, being its strongest points.”
During an interaction with reporters on the second day of ITM, when asked how local community looks at the prospect of rise in tourism in the state with means of connectivity being boosted, she had said, “The local community has always had this anxiety that over-tourism will spoil the environment.
“Mizoram talks of responsible tourism, and we would like to cater to responsible tourists,” she said in response to a PTI query.
The mega event put a spotlight on the tourism potential of the northeast region.
All eight states sought to showcase their best in their presentations. The venue was decked up with vibrant posters promoting the states of the northeast region as veritable tourism attractions, with posters bearing slogans such as ‘Awesome Assam’, ‘Land of Jewel – Manipur ‘, ‘Mesmerising Meghalaya’ and ‘Mystical Mizoram – A Paradise for Everyone’.
The Union minister and the Mizoram chief minister also laid foundation stones of four infrastructure projects. A coffee table book on Mizoram was also released during the opening event.
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