Travel and tourism is the fastest growing and one of the biggest industries in the world, touted to be even bigger than the automobile industry, according to Tsukti Longkumer, president of the Mokokchung Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI). Speaking as the special guest during the inauguration of the first Ongjinaro Festival at Mopungchuket village, Mokokchung, Longkumer also asked if Mopungchuket was prepared to reap the benefits of this industry.

Ongjinaro Festival
MCCI President Tsukti Longkumer inaugurating the Ongjinaro Festival of Mopungchuket on 14 December

Longkumer also said that foreigners are not the only tourists and that domestic and local visitors are also tourists who spend more than foreign visitors. He also said that Mokokchung can benefit much from tourism by attracting visitors from neighboring Assam itself. On this note, he suggested Mopungchuket to find ways to attract local and domestic tourists alike.

He further encouraged the villagers to identify the distinctiveness of the village and to maintain authenticity since tourists are interested in originality and to promote community tourism by harnessing the resources available in the village itself. He also predicted that the inflow of tourists to Mokokchung would multiply in the future as transport and communication improve with the completion of the ongoing 2-lane highway construction connecting Mokokchung with Assam. In this respect, he cautioned Mopungchuket villagers that they cannot afford to remain complacent as others would overtake them if they did.

The 2-day Ongjinaro Festival is organized by the Mopungchuket Community Tourism Society (MCTS) with the objective of “mainstreaming” Ongjinaro (Sarcandra glabra) that is endemic to the village as a commercial crop.

Convener of MCTS, Limalenden Longkumer, stated in his welcome address that the Ongjinaro Festival was launched with the intention of turning it into an annual event that will not only enhance tourism in Mopungchuket village but will also contribute to the growth of Nagaland tourism. He also invited government agencies and scientists to research on the medicinal and aromatic values of Ongjinaro and its commercial propagation which would benefit the rural community and contribute to their livelihood.

A village elder, Kiremwabang Aier, also shared greetings at the event on behalf of the Mopungchuket Village Council. The highlights of the festival include authentic Ao Naga cuisine, natural and dried flowers including the Ongjinaro flower, handloom, handicraft, jewelry, kids play zone, bonfire, music, and walk through the Ongjinaro groves in its natural habitat. The two- day festival will conclude on 15 December with a musical extravaganza.

Mopungchuket is a major rural tourism destination in Nagaland and perhaps the most visible tourist village in Mokokchung. It was recognized as a ‘rural tourism village’ by the Government of Nagaland in the year 2007, located less than 20 km from the district headquarters.

Mokokchung Times

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