Is The Northeast A Tourist Friendly Place


The Indian Tourism Sector Is One Of The Booming Sector That Is Driven Both By The Rising Income Of The Indian Middle Class And The Increasing Inflow Of Foreign Tourist. However In Comparison To Countries Such As Thailand Or Sri Lanka The Tourism Sector In India Still Has A Long Way To Go. The Government Of India Is Making Efforts To Brand India As Next Best Tourist Destination With Its Incredible India Campaign That Has Triggered States To Start Their Own Marketing Propaganda.

The Cultural, Historical And Natural Features Of India Attract Travellers And Explorers All Over The World. India’s Diversity Has Always Been An Enigma For The Outside World And With Visa Relaxation Etc The Rush To Visit India Has Increased In Recent Times. However There Are Still Many Problems That Inhibit The Growth Of The Tourism Industry In India. Many Of These Problems Are Too Well Known. Transportation, Shortage Of Budget Hotels, Law And Order Problems, Crime, Fraud And Deception Are Familiar Stories Tourists Travellers Experienced In India.

Travelling In India Is Always A Big Problem Even For Indians. Travelling From One Part Of The Country To Another Involves Bitter Experience That Are Discriminatory, Condescending And Exploitation. To The Northeast People, The Language Barrier Is An Obstacle That Places Them At A Disadvantage Position While Travelling Outside The Region. Nevertheless Many People From The Region Travel Outside For Professional And Academic Reasons Inspite Of The Differences In Language, Culture, Food Habits, Weather Conditions Etc.

The Northeast Region Is A Tourism Hotspot. With Most Of The Region Experiencing Normalcy From Decades Of Ethnic, Militancy And Other Problems, State Governments Are Going All Out To Promote Their Tourism Sector. The Northeast Have Indeed Become A Top Destination For Tourist Both Domestic And International. With Increasing Numbers Of Domestic And Foreign Tourist Visiting The Region It Is Worth Exploring Their Experience Of The Region.  This Article Is An Analogy Of The Experience Northeast People Faced Outside The Region Vis-a-vis Those Visiting The Northeast.

In The Context Of Meghalaya It Is Well Known That The People In The State Have A Friendly And Cheerful Demeanour. The State Is Becoming Increasingly Popular For Indian Tourist As Well As Global Travellers. But Is It A Tourist Friendly State? 

Meghalaya Like Most Parts Of The Northeast Has Poor Transport Connectivity.  The State Has No Direct Train Or Air Connectivity From Major Cities Of The Country. The Nearest Train Station And Airport Is Guwahati In Assam. Transportation To Shillong Is Dominated By The Private Sector And Since Their Timings And Frequencies Are Irregular, Unsuspecting Tourists Are Often Cheated And Exploited.

Shillong Is The Closest Hill Station For People From Assam And West Bengal. Many Visit The City For A Day Or Two (or The Weekend). Trips Are Mostly Spontaneous With No Elaborate Planning. This Sort Of Trip Can Cause A Lot Of Trouble For First Time Travellers.  I Recently Went To Nainital In Uttarakhand For The Weekend As It Is Cloe To Delhi And Easily Accessible. One Can Simply Hitch A Bus Ride From Delhi’s Inter-state Bus Station. I Went To ISBT Anand Vihar To Try And Get A Bus. I Had A Harrowing Time Searching For One. Touts Were All Over The Place Each Offering Me A Ticket But For An Exorbitant Price. Since It Was Getting Late I Had To Take It As I Was Left With No Choice.

After Two And Half Journey We Were Stop By The Uttar Pradesh Police Who Found That The Bus Had No Proper Travelling Documents. We Were Asked To Deboard The Bus. Luckily We Got Away After Every Passenger In The Bus Chip In To Help The Driver Pay The Challan. The Passengers In The Bus Most Of Whom Are Tourist Travelling To Nainital (and Beyond) Felt Extremely Cheated. We Had To Pay The Challan On Behalf Of The Bus Driver Since He Was Short Of Cash. He Promised To Pay Us Back Upon Reaching Our Destination Which He Did Not. We Finally Had To Make A Formal Complaint To The Police At Halwani.

The Experience Made Me Realize How Difficult It Is To Travel Within India Even As An Indian Citizen. It Must Be Extremely Tough To Do So As A Foreigner. It Is Therefore Imperative That The Government And Stakeholders Particularly In The Northeast To Explore Ways And Means For Facilitating A Tourist Friendly Regime/system That Is Enriching And Memorable For Travellers To The Region. Internet And Travelling Websites Are One Medium Of Facilitating Information And They Are Extremely Helpful. Is One Of The Website That Is Attuned To Provide As Much Information As Possible To Ensure That Tourists Are Not Hassle While Travelling To Shillong And Beyond.

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