The Northeast, which boasts the preeminent hill station Shillong, also known the Scotland of the East, has failed to attract tourists in big enough numbers to really give a big boost to employment in the area, a survey done by Hotelivate in collaboration with World Travel and Tourism Council revealed. The reasons thereof are many. For instance, when it comes to the plush green stretches and the enigmatic beauty of the seven sister hills, the limited number of domestic and international tourists frequenting the area is because of the difficulty in road and transport accessibility due to rough terrain and other geographical challenges. The survey done by World Travel and Tourism Council- India Initiative II (WTTC-II) has ranked NE states at the bottom of the list that comes out every two years. This means that the states have been marked as the least favourable states among Indian tourism spots.
According to the survey done with the data collected from the past two years, Tamil Nadu has received 34,38,12,413 domestic tourists whereas Assam received 5,160,599 domestic tourists during the same period. The southern state received 66 times more tourists within the country than the hill station. In terms of foreign tourists too, Tamil Nadu received 47,21,978 tourists while Assam managed to attract only 12,685 tourists. Manipur featured at the bottom of the foreign tourist list as the state was visited by only 942 tourists, even Nagaland featured as the least state to attract domestic tourism with only 58,178 tourists visiting the place.
Sikkim was ranked 22nd position in the list which features a total of 30 states followed by Mizoram (23), Tripura (24), Assam (26), Nagaland (27), Manipur (28), Arunachal Pradesh (29) and Meghalaya (30). The states were given rankings after evaluating 11 parameters – number of branded hotel rooms, GSDP per capita, literacy, aircraft movement, ease of doing business, urbanization, road and rail network, urbanization, marketing campaigns, state expenditure on tourism, number of tourist visits.
The survey acknowledged the underperformance of the NE states by saying, “Having analysed the trend over the past four editions of this report, it is quite evident that the NE states in certain cases are unable to compete on a par with other states in the country owing to a host of challenges. While each state is blessed with natural beauty, the very same geographic challenges restrict access to and within the states. Similarly, all NE states do not have the presence of any branded hotel supply.”
However, Assam has bagged the prize for best policy and leadership in tourism and the survey forecasts the fact that along with Assam, Sikkim Mizoram and Tripura too, are emerging as the top performers among NE states.