Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy recently said in the Parliament that the Centre has advised State governments and Union Territory administrations to grant ‘industry’ status to tourism. Of course, tourism is an industry in itself whether or not it is granted industry status by the government. However, when the government grants ‘industry’ status to the sector, it implies that specific and targeted policies and intervention will be made by the government. It is like the government of Nagaland promoting music after granting the ‘industry’ status to it in 2008. In fact, Nagaland was the first state in India to grant the ‘industry’ status to music.


According to Reddy, granting the industry status to the tourism sector would make it more competitive and help reduce the cost of hospitality projects which are capital intensive and will also encourage further investment. This, however, is not the first time that the idea of granting the industry status to tourism has been mooted in India. In fact, Kerala was the first state in India to declare tourism as an industry. In July 1986. Today, total annual earnings from tourism in Kerala stands at over Rs 45000 crores. Like Nagaland has the TaFMA after declaring music as an industry, Kerala has at least six such special branches under the tourism department.


Reddy said in the Parliament that ten States and one Union Territory have accorded ‘industry’ status to the Tourism sector so far. They are Kerala, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Goa, Karnataka, Uttrakhand, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura, with Assam approving the proposal for grant of industrial status to the tourism sector in the state in December 2022.


The new government inducted recently in Nagaland seems to have made the right move in appointing Temjen Imna Along as the minister of tourism. Of course, the performance or result is much more important than who the minister is but among the 60 MLAs, there apparently is no other candidate to match Temjen Imna Along as far as promoting Nagaland tourism is concerned. After all, tourism is all about marketing and attracting visitors and who would one want to have any other than Temjen Imna Along as the tourism minister among the members in the current assembly. That, however, does not mean that the minister is given the blank cheque. Rather, it means that there is much expectation on him – both in terms of delivering the goods as well as owning responsibility.


The fact that there are no tourism department offices in the districts, at least not here in Mokokchung, is an obvious pointer that the department needs a revamp if at all the government is serious about promoting Nagaland tourism. Equally important is the point that the community should be made equal stakeholders or partners in promoting Nagaland tourism. The local communities should be the beneficiaries of Nagaland rural tourism and not some wealthy business people residing in some far flung cities. Besides, there is always a downside to any development. It is hoped that the new minister will focus on sustainable tourism.


Mokokchung Times

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *