The Meghalaya government is monitoring the Covid-19 situation before taking a call for allowing domestic and foreign tourists to visit the State.
This was stated by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma during his meeting with a delegation of Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum (MTDF), Meghalaya Rural Tourism Forum (MRTF) and Federation of Shillong Hotels (FOSH) here today.
Sangma shared with the delegation the plans of the government with regard to tourism development in the State and said that the goal of high value tourism was the long term strategy of the government.
He added that there were a number of ideas and projects in the pipeline which the Tourism Department has initiated towards building a strong tourism ecosystem in the State.
The chief minister also informed that the State government has been successful in getting central assistance of Rs 700 crore to develop tourism in the State.
Emphasising that the government would not involve itself in the tourism business and trade but facilitate private enterprise in this sector, Sangma suggested for holding of a conclave between the Tourism Department and the tourism stakeholders in the days to come for a better understanding and deliberation of the tourism issues in the State.
During the meeting, the Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum (MTDF) presented a vision document of tourism in Meghalaya entitled ‘Meghalaya Tourism -The Next Chapter 2020 and Beyond’ along with an abstract of the treks and trails of Meghalaya which highlighted the unique selling points (USP) of destinations in Meghalaya particularly the rural areas which have attracted visitors who love nature and pristine ecosystems from all over the country and the world.
The vision document suggested the need for a regulatory authority in the rural areas to streamline the development of tourism infrastructure and hospitality services in keeping with the concept of high value tourism.
Further, MTDF pointed out the danger of haphazard constructions in the destinations which have spoiled the natural beauty of the pristine ecosystems.
Underlining the need for sustainable tourism in the State, the vision document said the pressure of mass tourism was not desired in the long term.
The forum also proposed to the chief minister to restrict the construction of high rise structures and suggested a mechanism which is based on aesthetics and structures that blend with the ecosystem of the area.
The presentation also drew attention to the need to keep the waterfronts in lakes and river destinations free from structures for at least 50 metres away so as to maintain the beauty and sanctity of the water bodies.
Another aspect was development of Shillong as a tourist hub with an art and music hub in the old Assembly campus at Khyndai Lad, setting up of a hawkers market in the Meghalaya Transport Corporation (MTC) depot at Khyndai Lad and construction of parking space and green space at the PWD campus at Barik.
The document emphasised the need for integration of agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and other departments with tourism as a holistic approach towards achieving the long term goals.