Principal secretary, tourism, Assam, H.S. Das, said a project proposal was sent to the ADB, which has given a positive nod, at a seminar on tourism yesterday. The seminar was attended by leading tour operators of the state and tourism officials.
At present, Sikkim is the only state in the Northeast to have received assistance from the ADB. The $20-million assistance to Sikkim was given to attract more tourists. The loan is under the Southasia tourism infrastructure development project.
Das said chief minister Tarun Gogoi a few days back had called a meeting with senior government officials wh-ere he indicated that tourism was one of the top priorities.
He said the 13th Finance Commission had provided Rs 50 crore to the tourism sector for five years. “We want to use the funds for development of the tourism sector,” Das said, adding that Rs 50 crore was in addition to other assistance from the Centre. Assam was given Rs 66.07 crore for 18 projects in the 11th plan.
Das said the Assam Tourism Council has been formed to translate the policy into action. It has members from the government and the private sector. “The private sector should get more involved in the council,” he said.
Former executive director of Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation, P.K. Dong, who was present at the seminar, said Assam tourism needs to be well-packaged and well-priced to attract visitors. He called for efforts to improve infrastructure and develop more tourism destinations.
The Sikkim tourism industry earns Rs 700 crore a year.