Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, called for promoting the concept of ‘Homestay Tourism’ in Northeast.
Citing the success of such experiment in States of Sikkim and Meghalaya, he said, such exclusive and personalised approach does not only increase the tourist inflow, but also generates new avenues of livelihood for local youth and families.
Singh discussed the progress of work on Sikkim's Pakyong Airport with Shriniwas Patil, Governor of Sikkim. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself, during one of the monthly “Pragati” video interactions with State Chief Secretaries, expressed the need to expedite the project.
With Gangtok having a large flow of tourists from across the world, Singh said the presence of an airport will make the accessibility more convenient and increase the number of tourists manifold. Similarly, Shillong is currently connected through a commercial helicopter service from Guwahati, but with the upgradation of the local airport, there will be a boost to the tourist inflow.
He recalled that during his recent visits to some of the scenic spots in Meghalaya and other States, he came across lot of tourists from outside preferring an accommodation within the home premises of local households which not only gives them a feeling of homeliness and privacy but also familiarises them with the local ambiance. At the same time, for the household family, this concept of ‘homestay” tourism becomes an added as well as substantial source of income.
Governor Patil recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sikkim when he had named three exclusive local flower plants as “Namo,” “Sardar” and “Deendayal.” He said, the people of the state keenly look forward to Prime Minister visiting the state again. He also deeply appreciated the keen interest taken by Singh in following up all the issues and development projects related to the State of Sikkim.