TODAY -

Wishing a goa in Manipur!

Free Thinker *



A few days back I stumbled upon a thought provoking article on Goa vs Kashmir tourism. For us, it is important to comprehend the most fundamental driving force of tourism. Tourists normally come to a particular place for fun or exotic quests or enjoyment or recreation or relaxation or research or pilgrimage or treatment (medical) or historical experience etc.

But the most crucial factor which is taken into consideration by a potential tourist is about her safety while planning a visit to the place of her choice. That is the priority and other considerations come later.

Manipur is a wonderland full of exotic beauties, unusual things, astounding fauna & flora, amazing cultural & artistic dimensions, myriad drinks & diets, lovely & friendly people. Still we are unable to attract enough tourists? This is because of the "safety and security", stupid.

One may argue that tourists even go to the most dangerous places or the most haunted places in the world. Those are exceptions. Majority of the people look for safe and secure places for their recreational tours and travels.

Thousands of people visit Goa because the visitors feel safe there, they feel great there. There might be a few stray incidences of crime but the overall scenario is peaceful and tranquil. The impression created to the world is that Goa is a safe place for visitors and tourists.

Likewise the image of Shillong or Gangtok is pretty good. People go there in large numbers. Darjeeling was an attractive tourist spot but because of the fluid situation there has been a sharp decline in the inflow of tourists. The story is the same for Kashmir.

It is reliably learnt that one gentleman has started 'war tourism' in Manipur; it is a great idea; hats off to him; the Anglo-Manipuri war sites (1891), Second World War & INA locus and war cemeteries will definitely be a great attraction particularly for the Britishers, Japanese and Bengalis.

Another attraction for the domestic Hindu tourists can be our pilgrim centers like the Govindaji temple, Mahabali (Hanuman Temple) which is always infested by smart monkeys and hanging bats, Engourok Mahadev, Kali Mandir, the rare Vishnu temple of Bhisnupur and the Tamil Temple at the Indo-Myanmar border. These spots may be converted into a pilgrim circuit.

A fantastic attraction of the foreigners and outsiders will be our stunning drinks made from high quality rice. The Sekmai quencher, the Andro brews, the Phayeng beverage etc., will make the visitors go crazy. These are our cultural drinks which are supposed to be kept outside the ambit of prohibition (Excise & Police must take a patriotic stand). Proper support and promotion is the needed for our local brews like the Goa Feni.

Today our hotels are comparable with the good hotels in Goa and other places. Yes, transportation is a great challenge. We need to strengthen further our bus and taxi services. In the last few months we have seen a great move towards strengthening the transport and connectivity within the State.

Restoration of Imphal-Jiribam State Bus service is also in the right direction. The revival of State Transport (Buses) is a good idea and if we can make it profitable nothing like that.

Our border intercourse with Burma can be a great attraction to the potential tourists. We need more advertisement and rapid propaganda about the niceties of shopping and visiting Moreh (Manipur) and Tamu (Burma). Without passport and visa you can enjoy both the goodly world of India and Burma. The Helicopter service (now sanctioned by the Modi-Biren regime) from Imphal to Moreh will certainly prove to be a blessing for this exciting adventure.

At the same time we must have some kind of a night life in our cities and towns. That will make the tourists more comfortable. We must enable tourists to go to a restaurant (local brew bar etc.,) at 10 pm, to go a Cinema theatre at 9 in the evening, to enjoy a drama or a ballet at 8, and to buy a drink at midnight, to go to a medical store at 11 at night . In case of medical emergency 24 hour medical aid must be made available to the visitors.

All kinds of restrictions must be lifted for the tourists who want to come to our land. Entry permit system sounds very archaic. The restrictions on visitors must be done away with. It is an outdated mindset to restrict people from entering the beautiful Northeast including Manipur.

I am strictly talking about tourists not migrants. We are not fools; we can easily identify who is a tourist and who is not. Both Centre and States ought to scrap all restrictions on people entering northeast. It is 21st century not British India.

But the most important thing is the creation of an environment which is safe and secure for the tourists and visitors. Let us resolve that we should not hurt any tourists. Instead we must protect and help them in all possible ways. We must make them feel great and special.

Why can't we learn from Shillong or Gangtok or Goa, where the tourists feel at home? It is not practical to provide security to each and every visitor.

We the people must ensure the safety and security of the tourists and innocuous visitors. Police should be extra friendly and helpful to them and no tips from them please.

If there is a squabble between a tourist and a local, we must be sympathetic to the outsider. Only then we can change our image to the world.

Stupid! We must know, more tourists mean money, employment, development and cosmopolitan worldview. Look and Act (East), but we are simply Looking........


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on December 29, 2017.



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