Guwahati: Asian Development Bank (ADB) is assisting Tripura in enhancing key tourism sites to transform them into more welcoming and inclusive destinations for visitors, with a focus on gender-friendly features.
ADB will help Tripura Tourism Development Corporation Limited (TTDCL), with a 10-year business plan and marketing strategy.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $100 million loan to improve urban services and tourism facilities in Tripura.
The project will establish a digital museum and a new adventure park.
ADB stated, “Tripura has high untapped potential to become a major destination for both domestic and foreign tourists.”
The bank highlighted that tourism’s potential for economic development and employment remains unrealised due to inadequate integrated planning, insufficient infrastructure, and limited last-mile connectivity for tourists.
“Tripura has several tourist attractions, including religious pilgrimage sites, palaces, traditional arts, music, and unique handicrafts. However, tourist numbers have been low because of systemic constraints. With about 600,000 tourist arrivals in 2019, Tripura is ranked low at 32nd among Indian states for domestic tourist arrivals and 23rd for foreign tourist arrivals,” the Bank said.
It mentioned that while Tripura has the highest share of foreign tourist arrivals in the NER (41.4%) and recorded a good growth rate of 8% during 2009-2019, it has high untapped potential to become a major destination for both domestic and foreign tourists.
The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation recognised the need to promote the subregion as a unique tourism destination and identified “Buddhist circuits” and “ecotourism based on nature and culture” as the comparative tourism assets.
In 2021, the Department of Tourism issued a tourism policy that promotes Tripura as a premier tourism destination. The state has the TTDCL as the nodal agency for tourism development.
“Improving regional tourism circuits across borders requires cooperation with respective state governments to offer smooth travel. It also requires collaboration among various infrastructure departments within the state,” ADB stated.
The project will enable the TTDCL to work with TUDA for integrated tourism planning, provision of appropriate infrastructure and services, and addressing the systemic constraints to attract more tourists, especially for the premier segments as per the tourism policy.
ADB will help upgrade tourist destinations, such as the Chaturdash Devata Temple, Kasaba Kalibari, and Neermahal Palace, by improving amenities, rooms, landscaping, and making them more visitor- and gender-friendly destinations.
The project will improve municipal infrastructure and public services for 12 out of 20 urban local bodies (ULBs) along the main national highways in Tripura.
In terms of service provision, the average population covered by piped water supply in the 20 urban local bodies is 42%, which is below the Indian public health standards, and the service levels in the informal settlements are even lower, with 36% connected to piped water supply.
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There is no sewerage system outside the capital city of Agartala, and most houses use septic tanks. Water supply is intermittent with a usual duration of 4-6 hours per day.
In terms of financial sustainability, the state issued a water supply tariff notification with a volumetric tariff system in 2019. However, urban local bodies cannot implement the system as no metres are installed to measure water consumption.
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