Understanding Tourism Barriers and Manipur

Yeliseol Yengkhom *

Bomb Blast in front of Manipur Sangai Tourism Festival Main Gate :: November 30 2011
Bomb Blast in front of Manipur Sangai Tourism Festival Main Gate :: November 30 2011

You must have seen a number of websites around; a number of blogs and articles that contains all these charming descriptions on how tranquil a Tourist Destination is such. The writer uses such bewitching words in describing a destination that readers over the internet are in all probability to be spellbound. And this doesn't mean it is bad to write good things about Tourist Attractions, Places of Interest, World Heritage Sites, the Spas, the good transport and accessibility of the place, the safaris, the hospitable good-looking guides (who speak more than 5 International languages), the balmy beaches, the corals and this list will go on. In fact, tourism products are simply endless in number.

Marketing companies have alleviated the headache of transforming Tourist Destinations into beautifully packaged trade good products. Tour Operators, Independent Travel Agencies and Marketing Companies are working day and night on it tries to create more extravagant places out of just some eggshells. Sometimes they will not bother choosing flamboyant lines, some hot-spicy calendar girl and such to be associated in their promotional activities.

An obvious fact - EVERYTHING SELLS; just what is needed is how you sell it. (Marketer's Point of View)

"Let me show you a Report (Source:
The ASEAN Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2012
Travel and tourism (T&T) is an increasingly important driver of economic prosperity and social progress. It is estimated that the T&T sector accounts for about 9 percent of GDP and employment worldwide. For ASEAN, the sector has long been considered as critical for the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community. The potential of T&T in the region is indeed enormous. The region is blessed with a wealth of natural and cultural heritage. It possesses a long tradition of tourism, and is strategically located at the heart of Asia. The extraordinary diversity of ASEAN countries further enhances their attractiveness. Yet, despite the many benefits of T&T, numerous obstacles continue to hinder its development.

The last line which says '....numerous obstacles continue to hinder its development' refers to a term which we call THE BARRIERS OF TOURISM. For those who aren't unaware of this term it refers to 'anything that hinders the growth of tourism in a place or area'.

Let me tell you why this factor is very important to be known by both the GUESTS (tourists) and the HOSTS (the people at the tourist destination).

Example: Threats like terrorism, Sexual assaults, Political issues, Unfriendly people, Political Instability, Harmful Diseases (Malaria, Dengue, Yellow fever etc.)

Source (TOI)

"Britain warns tourists of theft, sexual assault in Goa (India)
PANAJI: The British high commission in India has warned Britons visiting Goa about crime and detailed a new modus operandi, where "the perpetrators approach on two-wheelers with headlights on full-beam to blind their victims, snatch the bags and speed off". "Travellers staying in hotels on smaller roads in Candolim-Calangute belt are advised to be particularly careful when walking to or from the main road as there have been reports of bag-snatching taking place on these stretches since the beginning of 2012," a travel advisory posted online for tourists on the high commission's website on June 13 states."

Some tourists visiting India blindly follow or are care free. They are the ones who become the prey of these thugs at first hand. The necessity of understanding the hindrances and the obstacles in a place is one of the most mandatory requirements for a safe tour. I can barely imagine a Travel Company of India warning their clients about how unsafe, unwelcoming and fatal Indians can be. These barriers directly impact the tourism activity at a destination. Well there had been reports recently about growth in foreign tourist arrivals despite of all the menace India had been facing recently.


Manipur's Foreign Tourist Arrivals 2011: 0.006 Lacs

I would love to take Manipur as an example here; very well known for its notoriety, the rebels, revolutionaries, militants, anarchists, etc. Howsoever, they are some of the biggest barriers to tourism. This doesn't end here.

  • Draconian Laws like AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958) has also brutally raped and drastically affected the tourism potential of this place making it one of the most hostile places in India.
  • Poor Infrastructure (roads, electricity, transport, etc.) and hygienically pathetic environment sometimes do affect tourism
  • Accommodation sector is weak and needs improvement
  • Another important barrier is the people who serve as Hosts to these Guests. Their rate of tolerating people, hospitality factor etc.
  • Manipur has a number of sensitive areas that promoting tourism in these areas is not really wise.
  • Carrying capacity is also another factor (How many tourists can a destination hold without affecting the locals).
  • Bomb Blast during 'THE MANIPUR SANGAI FESTIVAL (Tourism Fest. Manipur)' was another factor that would definitely hit the minds of the foreign nationals when it comes to security. Beyond the topic, SANGAI FESTIVAL was more of a Stall-type or Mela (Indian word for FAIRS) with about more than 90% visitors being Local Public.
This list will continue for the next few pages. Anyway going forward, The Ministry of Civil Aviation suggested converting Manipur's Tulihal Airport (domestic) by July 2013 into an International Airport according to the Plan that includes converting 6 Domestic Airports to International.

India has a very regretful tourism reputation lately and yes Manipur too. We cannot lead our Guests' life towards compromise. Positive marketing should always mean for the safety and convenience of the Tourists.

Amidst the current situation of Manipur, the big question is 'Are we really ready for it?' The current infrastructure, the law and order, the local community aren't enough to boost tourism in the state yet. It is high-time that the Government starts unriddling the barriers seriatim. Developing infrastructures organized road transports, building hotels, supporting Entrepreneurs, clean drinking water, proper sewerage lines, education to the local community, taking counter measurements associated with militancy, forecasting and conducting a proper SWOT Analysis are some of the ways to boost up the Tourism activity in Manipur. Failure to mend these loopholes will only create more havoc and bad reputation.

"Let us look forward to a better Manipur. We will believe and we together will build it."

* Yeliseol Yengkhom wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at blog or email at yengkhom(dot)666(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on April 29, 2013.

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