India Business
Tempting offers for tourists from India's 'salad bowl'
Apr 11, 2007 - 6:17:02 PM

New Delhi, April 11 - Offering a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life, northeast India has drawn up a list of tempting offers that tourists simply can't refuse. The region has also got a refreshing nickname 'salad bowl'.

Lemli Loyi, general manager of North East Development Finance Corporation Ltd - elaborated on why tourists should take a dig at the salad bowl, earlier known as the 'melting point of cultures', at the third North East Business Summit here Wednesday.

Loyi said the primary reason for tourists to visit the region is its people. 'There are eight states, 75 major population and sub groups, 400 languages and dialects and a unique cultural heritage of each community. The people of the northeast are in themselves the main attraction of that place,' he said.

While the scenic beauty and the rich flora and fauna of the region have always remained the highlights, there are various other potential areas being developed to draw more tourists.

The tea gardens, which cover nearly 280,000 hectares of the area, is a major attraction the tourism department is trying to cash on.

'Old colonial bungalows of tea gardens are renovated for tourists to stay. Besides giving them a tour of the tea garden and the factory where the famous Assam tea is processed, there are entertainment programmes by the local tribes in the evening. All of this is a part of a package which is up for grabs,' Loyi said.

Adventure tourism is yet another area which is being extensively worked upon. Given the uneven terrain of most of the northeastern states, trekking, rock climbing, white water rafting and bungee jumping are being developed.

'Generally a particular season is specified as the best time to visit a particular place but because of the northeast's geographical and climatic diversity, it breaks the seasonal barriers. A tourist can come here any time of the year,' Loyi added.

Loyi said connectivity to the region was also improving with 226 flights every week to several places across India, apart from several trains. An amount of Rs. 500 billion has also been sanctioned for development of better roads in the area.

'Tourism in this region is emerging, albeit gradually. Eco tourism was growing at the rate of 35 percent last year and it's a Rs.250 crore - market. Health tourism is also extensively being worked upon so that more and more people from neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan come to Guwahati - for medical aid,' Loyi said.

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