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Monday, 18 June, 2018, 14 : 00 PM [IST]

North-east beckons tourists; footfalls to grow 12% in 2019

According to Financial Chronicle, Improved infrastructure and air connectivity are drawing a large number of tourists to North-east and looking at the current traction, footfalls in the picturesque region are expected to grow by 10-12 per cent in 2019, industry experts said. "The bookings for Northeast have gone up by 18 per cent as compared to the same period (April-June) last year.

Tourism in the North-east region is expected to grow by at least 10-12 per cent even in the next year," Cox & Kings head, relationships, Karan Anand, told. He said improved infrastructure and air connectivity have played a major role in attracting tourists. "Air connectivity has tremendously improved with new routes opening in the region last year. New flights have been introduced using Shillong as a hub to travel to other prominent tourist destinations of Meghalaya. "The new airport at Pakyong (Sikkim) will further make reaching the northern part of the state easier," Anand added.

 The region is mostly preferred by holiday-makers aged between 25-50 years and hailing from metros such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, besides Guwahati and nearby areas who flock there to explore its wildlife, rivers and culture, he said. However, the second or third-time travellers, who are now discovering the attractions of the North-east, embark on their journey to understand the lifestyle and also the culture and the cuisine of the region, he added.

Echoing a similar view, a MakeMyTrip spokesperson said high growth of travellers opting for the Northeast sector can be attributed to not only to better road infrastructure and rail connectivity but also to direct flight connectivity. "Apart from this, more number of hotels are opening up in this region, making it easier for travellers to find accommodations in these places. "At MakeMyTrip, we have seen over 100 per cent growth in the number of travellers opting for Northeast destinations such as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalya since the time we started offering holiday packages in the region," he added.

 The Assam, Meghalaya sector is increasingly becoming popular among the top metro markets, he said. Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head of Brand Expedia in India, said for a very long period, the northeastern part of the country had been largely unexplored due to poor connectivity and infrastructure.

However, tourism in the region is now witnessing a substantial growth, he added. "We have seen a year-on year growth of 25-30 per cent over the past five years. We are expecting the growth to continue with new government policies focusing on better infrastructure and connectivity," he added. The region offers a holistic package. However, activities like trekking, mountaineering, adventure sports such as river rafting, mountain biking, hang gliding and para sailing are gaining popularity in the region, he said. "Activities like the Ziro Music Festival and Hornbill Festival, too, have started to see a lot of traction. "Attendance at these events from young millennials over the past 2- 3 years has helped in making North-east a popular destination among tourists," he added.

(Source Financial Chronicle)
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