Malaysian airlines operating flights to Dhaka are keen to further expand tourist traffic to Meghalaya through the land route and it was announced that Vietnamese airlines will shortly commence direct flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Guwahati.
Heads of nearly 25 provinces of Vietnam, leading Vietnamese entrepreneurs and tour operators expressed keen interest in Meghalaya’s eco-friendly textiles and tourism sector. They also underlined the need for further cultural exchanges with Meghalaya.
This was revealed during the International North East Festival being organised in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
At the festival, Meghalaya is connected to South Asia in general and Vietnam in particular through the 3 Ts – Textiles, Trade and Tourism – and also through the 3 Cs – Craft, Cuisine and Culture.
The departments of Textiles, Arts and Culture, and Tourism are representing Meghalaya in this first ever NE Festival in Vietnam which concluded today. The Textile sector was a focus area.
The respective teams and delegations actively participated in the various B2B meets, exhibitions, cultural evenings through their official level delegations, textiles entrepreneurs, cultural troupes, music bands who showcased Meghalaya’s soft power and investment potential.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh yesterday urged airlines from Vietnam to explore launching direct flights to cities in north-eastern states of India to provide increased investment and tourism opportunities to both countries.
He was speaking at the ‘Investment and Trade Session’ also attended by 30 companies from North East India and 80 Vietnamese organisations
Guwahati, considered the Gateway to Southeast Asia, has an international airport with direct flights connecting Bangkok and Singapore, Singh said.
“All eight North East states are well connected by air, land and rail with other parts of India. I invite airlines from Vietnam to explore possibilities of connecting NE states with cities by air,” he said.
Singh said that India and Vietnam are long-standing friends with their bilateral relations and friendship rooted in shared history. He said the relation has been further strengthened by India’s Act East Policy.
“All the eight NE states have abundant natural and human resources and all have international borders which are integral to India’s Act East Policy,” he said.
The India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway is a part of the broader idea of connecting our NE states with the ASEAN countries.
Each state in North East India is home to immense economic potential and the region is rich in horticulture, medicinal plants and organic farming.
“’The region also has an abundance of raw materials, cheap labour and access to South East Asia markets. It also has the potential to become the manufacturing hub of organic products, renewable energy and international tourism,” Singh said.
Both India and Vietnam have similar industrial product lists and there are adequate opportunities in automobile, textile, leather, chemical, plastic, agro-processing, agro-machinery, infrastructure, IT, and health care for entrepreneurs on both sides to explore.
North East India is well known for its varied geography, rich cultural history and heritage and the reason why it is visited by domestic and international tourists. Meanwhile the hospitality industry is developing fast in order to match the growing need, the minister said.
“There is a need for more hotels and associated industries and so I invite hospitality businesses from Vietnam to identify investment opportunities in this sector. We will facilitate and extend all support for investments from Vietnam in India,” Singh said.
Presentations were made covering a wide spectrum of trade and investment opportunities, from trade and investment relationships to prospects in sectors like agriculture, handloom, handicrafts, and more, between both countries, highlighting the advantages of the North East region.
A meet, where the tourism potential of the region was highlighted, was also held during the day in which 52 tour operators from Vietnam and 20 from North East India participated.
Union Ministry of Tourism’s Regional Director Anil Oraw emphasised the potential for bilateral tourism and trade.
“We aim to introduce Vietnamese tour operators to the wonders of India. This mutual exchange will not only enrich cultural understanding but also stimulate tourism and trade business,” he said.
Vietnam International Entrepreneurs Networking Club’s Director Dinh Vinh Cuong said he would lead a delegation of 22 investors to explore opportunities in North East India in February next year.
He said the North East India Festival has given Vietnam the opportunity to understand investment possibilities and trade in the region. (With PTI inputs)