Rural tourism fast catching up in State

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By Shyam Waikhom

Imphal, September 4: Among the various tourist spots in the State, Loktak Lake is fast emerging as a major tourist attraction.

Rural tourism, one of the latest trends in tourism involves a tourist visiting rural areas for the purpose of participating in or experiencing the heritage and culture of remote areas.

While interacting with the Imphal Free Press, M Dilip Singh, the general secretary of the Ithing Village Develpoment Committee in Thanga said two Israeli tourists have recently come and stayed for four days in a Meitei household at Ithing village.

They enjoyed the Manipuri culture and traditional activities a lot and loved the environment and beauty of the Loktak Lake and her people, he added.

Dilip said the two Israelis expressed their desire of staying in a house at the village instead of a hotel to learn and know the culture of the Meiteis.

The two Israeli tourists dine with the members of the Meitei household in deference to Meitei culture during their stay, he said, adding that they also enjoyed helping the local women in taking their fish from the Loktak Lake to Ithing Village.

The female Israeli tourist said: “I have never come across such people anywhere in the world who are so kind and loving”.

We love the people here and would like to visit particularly the Ithing village in Thanga, she added.

The two Israeli tourists are here under a government project called ‘Bed and Breakfast’ which was initiated by the Government of Manipur recently after it was launched by former Union Tourism and Culture minister Ambika Soni on October 18, 2006.

Under the `Incredible India Bed and Breakfast Scheme’ which intends to promote rural tourism, house owners must made available 5 rooms or 10 beds with good comfortable beds, working space, air-conditioning facilities as well as attached western toilets.

But unfortunately in Ithing village, no clean drinking water can be provided to foreign visitors because the water supply scheme is not yet complete and people are suffering till now, Dilip said, adding that we are not able to provide sanitary toilets to the foreign visitors.

We need the government to intervene and complete the projects which were announced many years ago to provide good sanitary toilets to the villagers especially those who are dwelling in and around Loktak Lake in order to save it and keep people healthy, he said.

But we will be glad to serve the foreign tourists in the future too, adds Dilip.

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