Nagaland’s tourism resources are immense. Natural beauty in its varied forms is the state’s major asset. Lush green vegetation having interesting flora and fauna, deep valleys with glistening streams, natural lakes, hill agriculture and pleasant climate throughout the year are unique natural features of the state. Additionally, its history, ethnic tribal culture reflected through folk dances, music, festivals, handicrafts and the mysticism associated with the customs and ways of its hill tribes has been the source of great curiosity to not only Indians but people all over the world. It is a land of charm, diverse in landscape, culture and offers opportunities for whole range of tourism activities, which to date has remained largely untapped.
Tourism in Nagaland was formed in the year 1981 when it was bifurcated from the department of Information and Public Relation. Since then, tourism has been experiencing a slow but steady growth. The available tourists’ statistics show that during the last five years, the number of domestic tourists has ranged from 52,000-65,000 per year, while foreign tourists have ranged from 2000-5000 approximately, so far. The state government having realised the importance of tourism for the socio-economic development of the state has declared Tourism as a ‘Priority Sector’ under the State Industrial Policy of Nagaland 2000.
Nagaland, no doubt, still has a long way to go towards developing tourism in the state and given that Nature being the main asset of the state, the tourism policy has been designed with strong emphasis on Eco-tourism and the preservation of our cultural heritage and biodiversity of the state.
Nagaland Tourism Policy rests upon the following basic principles:-
At the institutional level, a framework has to be evolved which is government-led, private- sector driven and community-welfare oriented.
All Infrastructural developmental works related to tourism projects of any kind should be taken up in a well planned and thought-out manner taking into consideration the viability and sustainability of the structure in a particular environment.
Effective linkages and close coordination should be established with Departments such as Home, Environment & Forest, Art & Culture, Rural Development, PHED, Roads & Bridges, Railways and other allied departments.
Encourage and provide assistance to promote entrepreneurship within the local communities and provide a conducive environment for public and private sectors collaboration and investments through facilitation.
Brand Nagaland as a ‘tourist home’ for which special thrust should be imparted towards promotion of Village/ Rural Tourism and Homestay in rural areas and small settlement which are the treasure trove of our natural and cultural wealth. For this, a Village Tourism Development Board (VTDB) will be established in all the rural tourism villages.
Strengthen the brand image of Nagaland Tourism as a unique and ideal destination.
Promotion and marketing of Tourism and all it products will be taken up in planned manner in national and international level.
Quality tourism by advocating proper hygiene and solid waste management to all tourism destinations.
Sustainability should serve as the dictum for any development and management of tourism whereby greater emphasis should be laid on eco-tourism.
Development of human resource with due importance on capacity building /training to local youth and tourism stakeholders in tourism related activities.
The prime objectives of the policy are:-
Propose a planned development for tourism with cooperation from the private sector/ local community and other stakeholders.
Improve existing tourism products and infrastructures and expanding these to meet new market requirements.
Creation and development of new tourism infrastructures and services.
Identification and development of new tourism products.
Human Resource Development and capacity building.
Effective marketing plans and programmes.
Explore and propose alternate funding avenues for tourism
Co-ordination and synergy with other agencies and restructuring the department.
STRATEGY/ ACTION PLAN FOR DEVELOPMENT
PLANNED DEVELOPMENT OF TOURISM
Tourism plans should not be seen primarily as the responsibility of the tourism Department alone. It is multi-sectored activity, involving the different segment of the Government, the policy markers, the legislators, the bureaucrats and the common people who come in touch with tourists in various ways. The state policy, therefore, would ensure the necessary linkages and synergy in the policies and programs of all concerned departments and agencies involved in infrastructure development.
For developing a planned and a successful tourism industry, organizational structure need to be instituted, improved and augmented, as the tourism industry requires state and local level planning, provision of infrastructure, regulation, marketing and management of tourists infrastructure and attractions. The state policy will address these issues of organizational structure at three levels:-
Apex level- Constitution of Tourism Advisory Council/ Nagaland Tourism Council headed by the Chief Minister to act as a “Think Tank”. Other members will constitute the minister of tourism, Home, Industry, R & B, Art & Culture, Rural Development, PHED, Forest & Environment, the Chief Secretary and the commissioner. The Commissioner/Secretary (Tourism) will be the member secretary and will meet at least once a year.
In order to achieve policy goals, the departmental organization also needs to be strengthened, with the creation of few posts, particularly at the managerial and execution level.
Nagaland Tourist information offices will be established in Delhi, Mumbai, Shillong and Guwahati in addition to the one in Kolkata and whenever Nagaland house is established in metropolitan cities by the Government.
District tourism office to be set up in all the districts of Nagaland for coordination at the district level whereby the District Tourist Officers should take the full responsibility of identifying the tourist spots in their respective districts.
A “Research Cell cum Registration Cell” will be constituted in the Department of tourism. The Cell will gather tourist related information and statistics to prepare a Data bank and to give advice to the Department from time to time as well as see to the registration of all activities under the Nagaland Registration of Tourist Trade Act.
The State Tourism Department has a fully fledged Engineering cell has been created for creation and development of required infrastructure for Tourism sector. It is headed by the Executive Engineer and supported by Sub-Divisional Officers and Junior Engineers.
Attraction specific/local level-
Constitution of District Coordination Committee at every district, to be chaired by the Deputy Commisioner of each district. Other members could include the members of the Town Committees, village Councils/VDBs, concerned departments and organizations (private) involved in tourism activities. The tourist officer will be member secretary of the committee. The committee will regulate the operation and management of all tourist infrastructures and advice the government of developmental activities as per the capacity of places recommended.
Management of isolated attractions such as tourist rest houses, wayside amenities, waterfalls, picnic spots, etc., with minimum infrastructure would be in the hands of local organizations. This organization would also take care of the cleanliness and litter management of these attractions. DC, of each district will coordinate the constitution of each committee in each of the identified tourist destinations as well as potential tourist spots.
All DC’s will also ensure that some of the developmental activities of tourism will also be incorporated in the District Plan Fund and in the programs of RD, R&B, PHED, Power Department etc.
IMPROVE EXISTING TOURISM PRODUCTS AND INFRASTRUCTURES
The budgetary support for development of infrastructure in tourism have been very negligible from the state fund, and Central Assistance (CSS) which is to be used only as a supplementary resources has become the main source of financing tourism development. This assistance too has been spread thinly over a large number of schemes/projects, that the desired level of development has not taken place in any area/region. Given this scenario, it will be the government’s policy to ensure a most efficient use of the existing resources by avoiding the diffusion of resources thinly but to concentrate on focusing on identified circuits and destinations on a phase manner on priority basis. On completion of the project in hand, new circuits/destinations will be taken up.
The infrastructural development of tourism will commensurate with the tourist destinations identified for promotion and place where PAP relaxation has been accorded by GOI.
These centers/destinations will be selected on the basis of accessibility and carrying capacity of the place, local inspirations/supports and places of natural, historical and cultural relevance.
Thrust areas will also be identified in context of the indigenous development and tourist’s expectation in the area of ethnic/rural tourism, cultural tourism, adventure tourism and eco-tourism. Government will accord priority to the development of those places with potentials and where the local community is prepared for active involvement in developing the activity.
Tourism development activities are not confined to development of simple attractions only. It is closely linked with the overall development of the state and hence requires coordinated approach in developing infrastructures such as transportation, roads, water supply, telecommunications, electricity etc. by all the concerned department/agencies. The state Govt. will have to provide basic structures and other services to facilitate the development of tourism in the state.
Development of tourism in ecological fragile areas will be based on thorough understanding of local resources, social and economic factors and other characteristics. The planning and regulatory process will carefully go into various details that have a bearing on ecology and will specify methods for construction, incorporating the indigenous architectural style, encourage the use of eco-friendly local materials, and eco-techniques (solar energy, rain water harvest and utilization of recycling of waste etc, of all which will minimize the negative impact on environment.
The coordination committee constituted at the state level as well as the district levels will also administer to the effective implementation of this aspect of the policy.
CREATION OF NEW TOURISM INFRASTRUCTURES AND SERVICES
Roads & Transport: A well maintained transportation network is very vital for tourism as majority of the tourist destinations and attractions in the state can be reached via roads alone. As such, priority must be given to the roads leading to the tourist destinations. Many new roads need to be planned and developed specifically to provide access to the new tourist destinations. These will be also useful to provide alternate access / circuits for smooth connectivity of nearby destinations. Approval by Government of India for construction of double lanning of the existing NH‐29 roadway for Nagaland will directly support this objective and strategy.
Railway: Presently, the only railhead at Dimapur connects the regions in south Nagaland. Passengers have to get down at Dimapur and then travel by road. Since, the railway is the most popular and economical mode of transport for tourists, this needs to be upgraded soon. Construction of Railway line extension to Kohima by the Government of India will also directly support this policy objective.
Air: The only airport, Dimapur airport is operating at much below the normal standards. The airport needs immediate up-gradation in terms all weather and night landing facilities, frequency of services, communication services etc. Also efficient transport system like prepaid bus or taxi should be made available urgently since the distances to other cities are considerable.
Special Tourist facilities at the State entry / exit points:
A visitor’s first impression of a place is very much based on at the facilities available in its airport, railway and bus station. At present, such facility is available only at the airport in Dimapur which is manned by a tourist officer. It will be the state policy to provide transport services, information counters, telephone and internet facilities etc. which will contribute in generating a tourist friendly atmosphere. These points are especially important in the present circumstances where permits are required to enter the state. The tourists should be able to book their accommodation and travel from these centres and such information should be easily available. The design of such Centres should reflect the identity of the state. Further, these centres could be an employment opportunity mainly for women and youth.
Tour Operators/ Travel Agents-Travel Agents and tour operators constitute an important sector of tourism industry and it will be the state policy to issue special permits to tour operators/ travel agents who are registered with the Department of Tourism, Nagaland in the interest of promoting tourism within the state. These travel agents and tour operators will be granted all possible assistance from the State Government for accommodation, transportation, travel permits, liaisoning with the districts etc. and will be eligible for all incentives of the state government.
Introduction of the Nagaland Registration of Tourist Trade Act-There is a need to introduce the Tourist Trade Act and rules in the state, to provide for regulation and promotion of tourism in the state by way of registration of persons dealing with the tourists and matters therewith, and to ensure a coordinated and regulated development of tourism in the state.
Barrier Free Design approach for differently-abled people: This is the most important modern concept that has to be insisted upon and handled very sensitively. It will be the concerted effort of the state policy to include this concept in all the infrastructure designs for indoor and outdoor spaces to make the tourist spaces universal. Additionally, all tourist places must be made fully equipped with amenities like wheel chairs, walking sticks, umbrellas and also the first aid facilities.
Accommodations are an important vital segment of the tourism infrastructure. It will therefore, be the endeavor of the State Policy to have a list of Government approved/ registered hotels/lodges under the State Tourist Trade Act, which would be expected to function within the laid down norms / guidelines of the Government. These hotels/ lodges will also be subjected to regular inspection by a committee, comprising of the Department of Tourism, Food and Sanitation, and the Police Administration. These approved hotels will feature in all the publication of the department in the print as well as in the electronic media in India and abroad and will be eligible for incentives announced by the Government from time to time.
Home stays or Special Paying Guest scheme will also be introduced in some selected places/villages for providing affordable and hygienic accommodation for both domestic and foreign tourists and to take care of the seasonal flow of tourists. Selection of such places will be on need basis requirement and tourist potential area of the place. Appropriate regulatory guidelines will be brought out in this regard.
Tourist infrastructures such as the tourist rest houses, way side amenities, tourist lodges, resorts etc. set up by the department will be leased out to interested local communities /organizations/village councils/VDBs/churches/ women’s organization/ youth organizations etc. on payment of nominal rent to the department. But the management has to ensure certain minimum standard facilities and comfort to the visitors.
All proposals for accommodation infrastructures to be built up, such as lodges/resorts/hotels etc. by private entrepreneurs will require the clearance of the tourism department, for strict adherence to the requirements specified above.
Participation of private reputed entrepreneurs from outside the state will also be encouraged in the setting up of and management of quality and standard tourist infrastructures on a joint ventures basis.
Incentives- Under the State Industrial Policy of Nagaland 2000, Tourism has been accorded the status of “Priority Sector”. Accordingly, Government orders will be issued making tourism activities eligible for all benefits to the industry. Only such units which comply with the prescribed norm of recognition and whose projects have been approved by the Department would be eligible for these benefits, as contained in the State Industrial Policy of 2000, in area of central subsidy for small and medium scale sector, transport etc. and the state subsidy on power generation and power tariff, water supply, tax exemption etc.
TOURISM PRODUCT IDENTIFICATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Nagaland Tourism Policy will strive to identify areas and investors with investment potential and prohibit any activities which are detrimental to the environment. No one engaged, directly or indirectly, in the tourism industry should be allowed to secure short term goals by resorting to what has been called the darker side of tourism.
Potential areas of future development of tourism products in Nagaland are:-
Wildlife/ Ecotourism- Nagaland have a vast wildlife and eco-tourism potential since nature, forests and wildlife are major assets of the state. As such, the department’s policies and activities are framed in the line of eco-tourism. These projects need to be coordinated with the Forest Department who has basic infrastructure and authorized control over the region. Khonoma, Dzulekie, Dzukou, Mt. Saramati, Green Dikhu Project, Benreu, Sendenyu Bio-diversity Conservation, Intangki National Park, Rangapahar Wildlife Sanctuary, Puliebadze Wildlife Sanctuary are some identified unique protected areas of the state.
Agrotourism- Agrotourism is a form of niche tourism that involves any agriculturally based operation or activity People have become more interested in going back to the basics, leading a rustic life, and in how their food is produced etc. They want to meet farmers and processors and talk with them about what goes into food production, they see the source of their food, be it a dairy cow, an ear of corn growing in a field, or an apple they can pick right off a tree. This form of tourism can prove to be a popular concept for a state like Nagaland where over 70% of the population is still entirely dependent on agriculture as their main source of income. The Apple Festival in Thanamir, Kiphire, Kiwi Farms in the Phek district, Pineapple Plantation in Medizhema etc. are some of the few examples that can be promoted under this genre. The Dragon Fruit and other tropical fruit farms in the foothills of Nagaland can also come under this form of tourism. All we need is to build basic farm houses with modern amenities like showers, clean linen, European type commodes, solar lighting etc. to accommodate the prospective tourists.
Adventure/ Sports Tourism- Nature has blessed Nagaland with lofty mountain and terrain and spiralling trekking routes which makes the state ideal for adventure and sport tourism such as mountaineering, trekking, zip lining, gliding, and mountain biking, cycling, rafting, angling and rock climbing. Some of the identified potential spots for adventure sports in Nagaland are Dzukou Valley, Dzulekie, Mt. Japfu, Mt. Saramati, Satoi Range etc. Doyang and Tizu are ideal spots for river sports. You will find varieties of fishes like local Trout, Indian Masheer and Salmon. Both in terms of culture of natives and natural terrain, tourists have something new and exciting to look forward to in near future- Paragliding has been recently introduced in Pfutsero and Khezhakeno region of Phek District, Nagaland. The Department should collaborate with Department of Youth Resources to promote this sector.
Heritage Tourism- Nagaland does not have many heritage sites compared to other states in the country. Therefore it is the state policy to highlight and develop a few important sites of historical and heritage importance. The identified few such sites as under: The War Cemetery, Kohima; Kohima Village, Kohima; Medieval Kachari Kingdom Ruins, Dimapur; Khonoma Village, Kohima district; historical site at Naganimora, Mon district; Molungyimsen & Impur- 1st Baptist Mission in Nagaland at Mokokchung district:, Naga Heritage Complex, Kisama at Kohima.
Cultural Tourism / Fairs & Festival – Fairs and festivals not only reflect the rich cultural heritage of Nagaland, but have also become the biggest attraction for tourists. The government will endeavour to tie up with the NEZCC and the department of Art & Culture to organise and promote these traditional festivals and take tourism to all tourist destinations of Nagaland. It will also be the government policy to accord priority for the infrastructural development, improvement and marketing of such places.
Music Tourism- Music is an integral part of the life of the Nagas. The Naga oral tradition is kept alive through the media of folk tales and songs. Nagaland is the first state in India to have introduced ‘music as an industry’. The Music Task Force of Nagaland was created by the Government to encourage Naga musicians to take up music as a profession rather than a hobby. The Hornbill National Rock Contest is an integral event of the Hornbill Festival. It is a National-level contest and boasts of being the longest music festival in the country.
Monsoon Tourism- Nagaland has a largely monsoon climate with high humidity levels. The region looks the best in Monsoon when everything is so green and drenched. If one doesn’t mind a little rain, can visit Kohima which looks splendid during monsoon, when the place is completely covered with lush grasses and lilies, and the spellbinding streams and valleys running in between. Then, there are few waterfalls like Triple Fall at Seithekema and Phesama and Western Dzukou Waterfall that look exquisite in monsoon besides the evident nature gifted landscapes and beautifully set terrains.
Wellness/ Herbal Tourism- Forests of Nagaland are one among those having rich bio-diversity especially in terms of flora. Located in one of the 25 hotspots regions of the world in terms of bio-diversity with forests covering an area of 13,318 sq.km, Nagaland possesses a vast variety of herbal and medicinal plants. This form of tourism is currently being practiced in a small scale by indigenous people in the remote regions of Nagaland having the innate knowledge for herbal medicines and massages that provide holistic healing and rejuvenation.
Experiential/ Rural Tourism- Experiential or immersion travel/ experience”, is a form of tourism in which people focus on experiencing a country, city or particular place by connecting to its history, people and culture by living it. It emphasize different areas of local life- culinary, culture, history, shopping, nature or social life and can herewith be the basis for a holistic travel experience. Development of Rural Tourism is one of the few activities which can provide a solution to promote these various types of tourism. The increasing levels of awareness, growing interest in heritage and culture and improved accessibility, environmental consciousness are some factors which are shifting the trend towards rural tourism. The Tourism policy aims to implement such form of tourism through Village Tourism Development Board (VTDB).
MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism is also one of the fastest growing in the global tourism industry. The potential for MICE in Nagaland is enormous. However, at the same time, the state faces numerous challenges, of which the most critical is lack of proper infrastructure, Accommodations, Access and connectivity and Amenities. The department will take steps for setting up modern conventions facilities in Kohima and Dimapur Districts.
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
Tourism is a labour intensive activity and skilled manpower is an important requirement for sustained tourism development. It will, therefore, be the state policy to adequately lay emphasis on this vital aspect of tourism and manpower development. Training will be given due weightage to ensure efficient service and management of tourist facilities for maximum returns of investments made. This will be achieved by:-
Professional skill development training for officers and staff of the department in various aspects of tourism sector to the different categories of staff is of utmost importance and also to keep up with the growing tourism trends.
Training will be held within and outside the state in collaboration with various institutes of Tourism and Travel Management of India, set to by the Ministry of Tourism over the country.
Training will also be conducted in the state training institute like ATI and SIRD, for awareness generation of the potentials of tourism, by inviting resource persons from the Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management (IITM) and the Government of India tourist offices.
Capacity building and awareness generation programme in all the Districts‐ to meet the demand of the growing Tourism sector and requirement of accommodation, catering, tourist guides, Hospitality and Travel Agent etc.
EFFECTIVE MARKETING PLANS AND PROGRAMMES
Marketing of the tourism products of an area is essential in order to inform prospective tourists what the area has to offer, as well as to persuade them to visit it. Today tourism industry is highly competitive arena with many destinations competing against each other to attract the potential tourists. Thus the state has to be prepared to meet this competition through an aggressive marketing strategy by:-
Production of publicity materials, such as brochures, tourist literatures, handouts, audio-visual materials/films etc., hosting of websites etc.
Media advertising in specific journals, periodicals, hoardings, internet etc.
Participation in various tourism related conferences, fairs, marts held in the country and on a selective basis abroad.
Thrust on public relations during the first phase of tourism development by organization FAM tours for travel writers and travel agents of other states and countries.
Active and wide participation in Domestic, National and International fairs and festivals in Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi etc. and Marts like World Tourism Mart (WTM), London, ITB Berlin, Doha.
Financing of the tourism department’s development activities are primarily from three sources – State, Central and NEC-DONER. However, the fund availability to the department is most inadequate for the development of tourism in the state. As such, it will be effort of the State Policy to try various funding avenues in a process to make the activity economically feasible and sustainable. All proposals / projects must be worked out like business proposals considering all possible projections. The state/central governments may provide limited assistance for the initial gestation period. However, a definite strategy has to be worked out for the long-term maintenance of such facilities.
The other funding avenues should be tapped. Various government departments and organisations provide specialise funding for specific projects related to their activities and tourism sector being a versatile sector could tap these resources. The tourist infrastructure could be also used for such complementary activities and made sustainable. Nagaland has potential to attract private investments in tourism sectors. However it will depend on the other factors adversely affecting the Northeast region. The state government has already identified tourism as an industry. Now it must begin to treat the tourism sector like a public sector industry. Tourism industry is likely to provide tremendous socio-economic benefits to the state with multiplier effects. It is a fast growing and non-polluting industry, most suitable for a state like Nagaland. The state government must invest/divert substantial funds in this sector to reap quick overall benefits.
CO-ORDINATION AND SYNERGY WITH OTHER AGENCIES AND RESTRUCTURING THE DEPARTMENT
Tourism is the all round development of the human society as such tourism department should not work in isolation. In fact, the Tourism Department should act as a co-ordinating agency to develop the tourism potential in the state in different interesting areas. This will help the Tourism Department to use its limited resources judiciously. There are other government departments like Forest, Art & Culture, Tribal Development, Rural Development, Agriculture & Horticulture, Education, Sports etc. The activities and programmes of these departments could be designed to suit the tourism potential of the state and tourism department should give these inputs to these departments. Wildlife and Adventure tourism are the upcoming and very promising sectors and they could be effectively and sustainably developed as the joint projects and programmes. Recognizing the deep rooted relationship of tourism and the natural environment, forests and wildlife, greater emphasis will be laid on eco-tourism whereby sustainability will be the focal point of the policy. At present, there are no such attempts and this must be developed immediately since this is the most sensible and sustainable approach.