Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries with a huge global economic contribution. However, Covid-19 has negatively affected the industry and Northeast is not immune to the affect. In order to design a tourism roadmap for North East India post pandemic, Tezpur University and Finderbridge- a destination management organization based in Northeast organised an International E-conference on Northeast India Tourism (ICNIT) 2021 on July 20, 2021.
“The purpose of the virtual conference is to bring domain experts from Industry and Academia and to learn from their valuable insights. Stakeholders of the tourism industry will have to study the psychological and behavioural changes in the tourists due to the COVID-19 pandemic are to be studied and strategies developed for revival of tourism in the post-pandemic period”, Prof. Chandan Goswami, Head, Dept. of Business Administration stated the purpose. This space ensures networking possibilities with some of the best minds and explores solutions for recovery, rebuilding and reinventing tourism industry post pandemic, Prof. Goswami further added.
Speaking on the occasion as the Chief Guest, Mr. Robert Romawia Royte, Minister of State for Tourism, ICT & Sports & Youth Services(I/C) Government of Mizoram advocated for building a circuit among Northeastern states so that by collaborating together Northeast may emerge as a potential emerging region in tourism sector. “Northeast states are rich in diversity, we can promote ecotourism, and nature based tourism here” Mr. Royte opined. He also informed that Govt. of Mizoram has given importance on “Responsible Tourism Policy” and that has made huge difference in tourism sector in Mizoram.
Addressing the session as Guest of Honour, Mr. Sankha Subhra Devbarman, Regional Director (Northeast), Ministry of Tourism, Government of India provided useful information to the audience that the Govt. of India has taken initiative of giving 5 Lakh visas free of cost to the tourist visiting India by 31st March 2022 to increase tourist footfall in the country. He also added that the Govt. of India is assisting the Tour Operators and Travel Agents (TTS) by giving Rs. One lakh for restarting their business. He urged Northeast tourism stakeholders to come forward and take this opportunity.
Speaking during the inaugural session, Mr Himangshu Baruah, the founder of Finderbridge Tourism said that tourism industry has to address- the new normal travel scenario post Covid-19 pandemic. He also highlighted the importance of Sustainable and Responsible Tourism Strategies. He opined that tourism students and enthusiasts need to learn new skill development models, which is required to rebuild the tourism industry.
The conference was divided into three sessions- Tourism Education, Entrepreneurship, Career & Skill Development, Reinventing & Recovery by Tourism Officials / Stakeholders / Entrepreneurs of NE and Sustainable & Photography Tourism and Tourism Marketing.
Industry veterans such as, Mr. Arun Kumar Singh, CEO IndiaOne, Ex-CEO of Deccan Airlines, Mr. Sandeep Dutta, Marketing Manager, Korea Tourism, Ms. Akshita Lahkar, Finderbridge, Mrs. Jessica Snock, Global Goodwill Ambassador, United Nations Peace Keepers Federal Council etc. shared their knowledge and expertise on various issues during the sessions. Ms. Mugdha Minshi, Wildlife & Environmental Law Specialist, Ms. Lony Singpho, Tourism Professor, Kaziranga University and Educator, Northeast Tourism Academy etc. expressed their point of view from Academics.