Eco tourism conclave opens on an optimistic note

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Governor VK Duggal speaking at the conclave.
Governor VK Duggal speaking at the conclave.

Unique concept of Ema market can be developed into a world class showpiece, says MP Bezbaruah

IMPHAL, April 7: “If you have the will, you can do it,” said member, North Eastern Council MP Bezbaruah during the inaugural ceremony of the Manipur Ecotourism Conclave, Imphal.

The two day long conclave was declared open by the state Governor VK Duggal today at the Royale Classic Conference Hall, The Classic Hotel.

The conclave is being jointly organised by the Eco Tourism Society of India and the State Tourism department.

The NEC member based his speech on certain principles which, he said will help develop tourism in not just Manipur but in the entire North East region.

He said, “My first principle for development of tourism in Manipur and the North East would be to repeat what the multinational corporation Nike has as its slogan ‘Just do it’.

“Don’t ever think of anything just go and do it,” he added.

He continued that his second principle is also taken from the marketing jargon which says that “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” and that the first impression is the most important for Manipur Tourism.

Elaborating further he talked of the many avenues that the Kangla Fort can provide to boost tourism in the state.

He said Imphal has a goldmine in Kangla Fort, “throbbing with history, culture and the heartbeats of Manipur.”

It breaks my heart to see the beautiful historic buildings in which general Slim stayed and managed the operation of the World War II being used in such in sensitive manner, he observed.

“Why not name the place ‘the Kangla Fort-the Heritage City of Manipur,’ why not have a sound and light show that revives the great history and pristine culture of Manipur, where heroes like Tikendrajit can come alive again to inspire the new generation which have been led astray,” he continued.

He observed Manipur needs some outlet to free the thoughts of the young generation from everything negative they are seeing around them, which can be provided from the Kangla Fort.

“Manipur needs a kick-start and Kangla Fort and others like the Loktak Lake can give the kick-start.”

There are many things to be done, he said, to ensure that this priceless treasure and heritage does not wither away due to lack of action, he said before acknowledging the presence of an authority to look after the fort, said.

‘The unique concept of women’s market in Imphal’ could be perhaps developed into a world class showpiece, MP Bezbaruah said about the Ima Markets.

Continuing with his principles he said the next is to think big.

People have the tendency to think small and confine themselves to smaller things, he lamented.

Governor VK Duggal in his speech, had said that the timing of the conclave could not have been more perfect as Manipur now is going in full swing towards investing its resources and developing infrastructure for becoming one of the most sought after Tourist Destinations.

He mentioned the arrival of the International Thailand-Bhutan Car Rally in Manipur tomorrow.

He talked on developing tourist destinations; capacity building and human resource development; Rural Tourism projects which are in the pipeline; modernisation of the Imphal Airport which had been declared recently as International Airport; finalisation of the Manipur Tourism Policy.

He had also talked on mega projects to develop major tourist attractions in and around Imphal City including the Ima Market, Govindaji Temple, the Assembly, the War Cemetery etc. and help in upliftment and restoration of these areas.

The Governor also highlighted the development of an 18-hole golf course at Nongmaiching, Imphal East.

Speakers highlighted tourist attractions of the state like the Loktak Lake, Kangla Fort, WW II memorial sites among others during the opening session.

State chief secretary PC Lawmkunga in his welcome address elaborated that we need to be careful in preserving the eco system. With the increase in the tourist footfall of tourist activities detrimental to the fragile eco system are bound to come up, he said.

And as such tourism infrastructure should be designed and developed in such a way that it protects the national heritage, preserve our ecology and protect wildlife, chief secretary Lawmkunga said.

The huge potential of Manipur has been left untapped for long it is the right time now to bring the Manipur tourism to the fore.

It is our responsibility to maintain that the assets have been created, he said.

Others who spoke during the inaugural session include Eco Tourism Society of India honorary secretary, Rakesh Mathur; honorary president of ESOI Steve Borgia, with former secretary, Tourism, government of India giving the keynote address.

Post a tea break, the day was divided into two sessions.

Th Ibobi Singh, retd IFS, former member secretary, Loktak Development Authority & addl PCCF (Wildlife) Th Ibobi Singh spoke on “Ecotourism & Wildlife’; Dr L Surjit Singh, president, Manipur Mountaineering & Trekking Association on ‘Eco & Adventure Tourism’; Chitaranjan Bakshi business head PASH India on ‘Golf Tourism’; while Arjun Sharma MD Le Passage to India Tours & Travels Pvt ltd on ‘Product, Marketing and destination Development.

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