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Monipur Tourism Policy

Tourism Policy



















































Sl. No. Particular
1. Introduction
2. Mission Statement & Principle
3. Aims & Objectives
4. Current Scenario and Swot Analyses
5. Thrust Areas : Niche Tourism Products
6. Action Plan
7. Strategy for implementation of action plan
& Promotion of thrust areas
8. Manipur Tourism Brochure


1
INTRODUCTION
Tourism emerged as the largest global industry of the 20th century and is projected to grow even faster in the 21stcentury. Manipur has immense possibilities of growth in the tourism sector with vast cultural and religious heritage, varied natural attractions, but a comparatively small role in the national tourism scene. Manipur Tourism Policy, 2014 which envisages new initiatives towards making tourism the catalyst in employment generation, environmental re-generation, development of remote areas and development of women and other disadvantaged groups in the State, besides promoting social integration is, therefore, vital to the State's economy.
According to the UN World Tourism Organization, contribution of tourism to economic activities worldwide is estimated at about 5%.Tourism takes the cake for creation of 6-7% job opportunities, both direct and indirect worldwide. While in 1950, the top destinations absorbed 88% of international arrivals, it was 55% in 2010, reflecting the emergence of new destinations, many of them in developing countries. UNWTO points out that developing country stand to benefit from sustainable tourism and should act to make this a reality. According to the Planning Commission, the earnings from Travel & Tourism (T&T) have made it one of the largest industries in the world and the fastest growing sector of global trade accounting for 10.4% of global GDP, 12.2% of global exports, 8.3% of global employment, and 9.5% of global capital investment. The receipts generated have grown twice as fast, far outstripping the growth rate of the world economy.
India is fast emerging as an important tourism destination in the world. The 'Incredible India"campaign, which showcases the best that India has to offer to the tourists, has now attracted worldwide attention. Foreign tourist arrivals in India increased from 2.37 million in 1997 to 20.73 million in 2012. The Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) from tourism by these arrivals grew at an even stronger rate reaching around USD 1774 million in 2012. The year 2012 witnessed a growth of 19.9% in domestic tourist visits over the year 2011, which is higher than the growth of 13.8% in the year 2011 over 2010. During, 2012, the visits by the foreign tourists registered a growth of 6.3% over 2011. By 2017, tourism industry is expected to contribute USD 3121 billion in absolute terms but in percentage terms it is likely to decrease to 3.4% as estimated by the Planning Commission.
Manipur with its inherent tourism potential, rich cultural heritage and vibrant pool of youth, with excellent grip over English language is an ideal place for promotion of Tourism as its main industry and sector to generate employment substantially. Our young boys and girls are working in every nook and comer of India in hospitality industry, owing to their good mannerism, friendly attitude, pleasant approach to the clients and fluent English. With such rich talent, which is bound to multiply manifold, after establishment of upcoming Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology & Applied Nutrition at Imphal, planned development of Tourism Infrastructure and aggressive marketing of Manipur Tourism would lead to create an employment potential to the tune of 10-15%, as against 6-7% globally. Increased employment opportunities are bound to facilitate improvement in Law & Order and perceptible decrease in insurgency.
Tourism Industry per se would create employment opportunities at every tier be it a Luggage handler, Porter, Waiter/Waitress, Front Desk Official, Managers, Accountants, etc. The tourism industry has its own multiplier effect and thus could become the largest employment generator in the State.
Other than the tourism industry itself, the global spread of tourism has produced significant economic and employment benefits in many related and interlinked sectors too, from construction to agriculture or telecommunications. This multiplier effects of tourism need to be tapped maximally to enrich the State's economy and bring prosperity to the people.
Manipur, with her comfortable climate, mystique cultural heritage and sublime natural beauty, located strategically in a hitherto considered disadvantageous geographical area, has huge potential for the growth of tourism. Manipur tourism was given an industry status in January 1987. Since then the benefits of developing tourism in Manipur has been broadly discussed, argued and acted upon. Research reports on developing Manipur Tourism identify the tourism potential of Manipur, the need to develop it for present and for long term future gains. The State Government has been making efforts in developing Manipur Tourism by developing Infrastructures, Hotels & Restaurants, Human Resource, and through active Marketing, Publicity, Promotion Programmes, Market Research, etc.
Manipur and its tourism policy become all the more important in view of India's Look East Policy, the Trans-Asian Highways and the Railways. The Government is keen to take advantage of these developments and therefore, seeks to create a unique brand to market Manipur Tourism as the 'Gateway to South-East Asia'in conformity with its modern outlook, relevance, competitiveness, strategic location and commercial aspects. It is felt that once the appropriate infrastructure and services are suitably placed, Manipur is destined to become a popular tourist hotspot in South-East Asia akin to its South-East Asian neighbours.
Relaxation and exclusion of Manipur from the Protected Area Regime since January, 2011 has started attracting foreign tourists to the State. Ministry of Home Affairs has conveyed its, in principle, approval for establishment of VISA on Arrival (VoA) facility at Moreh and at Imphal International Airport. Once VoA facilities are operational, many Myanmarese would travel to Manipur, especially for availing medical facilities. Furthermore, Manipur, where some of the final battles of the World War-II were fought, can receive a big impetus in the tourism sector attracting many foreign tourists, especially from Japan and the Commonwealth countries whose relatives, ancestors and countrymen lost their lives in the battlefield here.
Efforts of the State Government to promote tourism as an important industry would have to be synergized with our efforts to improve the law and order situation in the State as well as propagate the message to the people, both within India and abroad, that Manipur, despite internal conflicts and insurgency, is a safe place for the tourists. Unless we propagate this message to the intending tourists, the apprehensions in their mind about safety would not be addressed effectively which in turn create negative publicity and be detrimental to our efforts in promoting Manipur Tourism. Therefore, the State has to take proactive steps in finding a permanent solution to the insurgency and social instability to bring about peace and convey to the outside world that Manipur is a safe and pleasant place to visit. Improvement in law and order would not only lead to increased tourist arrivals but also attract investors from outside the State.
The 'Manipur Tourism Policy, 2014' consists of consolidated report on the recent developments in tourism and highlights the current scenario of the State. It attempts to position tourism as the major engine of economic growth, to harness the immense tourism potential and position 'Manipur' as a preferred tourist destination at global level, by proposing both short term as well as long term measures.
The ‘Policy' strives to develop tourism in Manipur taking into consideration the guidelines of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. It also attempts to address the issues related to tourist's interest as well as satisfactory customer/guest services which will serve as a tool to attract more tourists. The ‘Policy' also focuses on community participation and involvement of private entrepreneurs for comprehensive development of tourism industry in the State.
The Mission of the ‘Policy' is to promote sustainable tourism as a means of economic growth, social integration and to promote the image of Manipur as a State with a glorious past, a vibrant present and a bright future. Policies to achieve this will be evolved around six broad areas such as Welcome, Information, Facilitation, Safety, Cooperation and Infrastructure Development. Conservation of heritage, natural environment and development and promotion of tourism products would also be given importance.
2
MISSION STATEMENT & PRINCIPLES
The mission of Manipur Tourism Policy, 2013 is to provide proper direction that will drive the tourism industry in Manipur and to let the dynamics of the industry take over thereafter. The 'Policy' seeks to harness the tourism potential of Manipur and to attract tourists and investments with the development of hotels & restaurants, resorts, transport, communication, heritage sites, handloom & handicrafts, home-stays & village stays among other ancillary trades/activities. These developments will ultimately help in creating jobs, earning revenue and thus contributing to the economy of the State which in turn would enhance the income level of the people.
The State intends to create a robust and vibrant tourism industry through planned, innovative and systematic approach producing an efficient tourism multiplier largely governed by diversity of tourism products, lengthening the period & comfort of stay, and creating various spending avenues. The overall efforts shall be market based taking into account the preferences of the tourists and service providers.
Our vision is to create a unique brand for the State to develop and market critical infrastructure in a sustainable and integrated manner to make Manipur a favourite national and international tourist destination with a view to provide an unique experience to the visiting tourists besides ensuring that the quality of life and economic benefits are trickled down to the needy sections and bringing overall prosperity to the people in the State.
The policy rest upon the following basic principles:
2.1. In a small remote land-locked State like Manipur where there is less scope of industrial development, but with a rich cultural heritage and sublime natural beauty, tourism promises to emerge as the main avenue for creating employment opportunities, income generation and alleviating poverty. Accordingly, the 'Policy' proposes to facilitate incentives/subsidy for development and promotion of tourism industry in the State.
2.2. The tourism industry promises to provide significant direct and indirect employment. The employment creation potential for investments made in tourism sector promises to be higher than in manufacturing and agricultural sectors. Tourism development would also help significantly in the development of cottage industries and handloom & handicrafts, and thereby promote overall area development and development of weaker sections of the society.
2.3. Considering India's Look East Policy, many tourists would be passing through the State when the Trans-Asian Highway No. 1 is fully developed. Operation of railway line would also bring in large stream of tourists. The immediate challenge shall be on devising ways to cater to their needs and comfort, and persuading them to stay a little longer and explore the rich cultural heritage and scenic beauty of the State.
2.4. Establishment of inter-departmental and inter-agency linkages is crucial to the development of tourism. Public Works, Public Health Engineering, Municipal Administration Housing & Urban Development (MAHUD), Rural Development, Power, Health, Home, Forest and Arts &
Culture Departments are important departments which need to play a critical role. Close association shall also be established with NGOs, Clubs, Security Forces, Civil Aviation Authorities and others.
2.5. The North-Eastern States of India are seen as a contiguous region without borders from a tourist's point of view. Therefore, effective co-ordination and cooperation with the neighbouring States shall be pursued for joint development of tourism in the region and shared tourist circuits with a view to facilitate easy, hassle free movement of tourists.
2.6. The Tourism Policy must benefit people. The multiplier effects of the industry need to trickle down and help in creating employment opportunities for the youths, preserving cultural heritage, empowerment of women, encouraging local artisans, development of backward regions, enhancing income and alleviation of poverty.
2.7. Tourism is overwhelmingly an industry of private sector/service providers and hence their critical role shall be duly acknowledged. The ‘Policy' seeks to sensitize all stakeholders on the shared vision which is very essential for a highly efficient, responsive and sustainable tourism industry. Tourism in Manipur shall be government led, private-sector driven and community welfare oriented.
2.8. Prioritization of projects both for destinations and infrastructure is necessary so that scarce resources are put to best use.
2.9. The immediate priority would be on creating world class accommodation& infrastructure, identification, improvement and up-gradation of destinations and other tourism assets and making these operational under Public-Private Partnership.
2.10. Promotion, publicity and marketing are the core of tourism development and need to be undertaken in conformity with tourist profiles and product characteristics.
2.11. The necessity of developing sustainable and responsible tourism to ensure preservation and protection of tourist destinations would be the backbone of the ‘Policy'. It will not only secure long term gains but also help mitigate the adverse impacts of tourism development.
2.12. The safety and security of the tourists shall be paramount on the Government's agenda. Considering the unique law & order situation prevailing in Manipur, promotion of tourism would be carefully undertaken. Even the trouble torn State like Jammu & Kashmir attracts a large number of tourists due to its unique tourist destinations and the facilities provided to the tourists and therefore, Manipur should not shy away from promotion of tourism under the veil of law and order considerations. State Government, in consultation with Government of India, would make positive interventions to improve law & order, create secure & safe atmosphere and work towards a permanent solution to decades old insurgency problem with a view to make Manipur a safe place for the visitors in a time bound manner. Once peace and harmony is stabilized, Manipur with its intrinsic tourism potential is likely to become a preferred destination for the tourists, both domestic as well as foreign. Tourism development in the State would itself create enough job opportunities and avenues for recreation, which in turn would dilute the insurgency substantially and help the State in bringing peace and stabilization in a time bound manner.
2.13. Whenever opportunity arises, Manipur Tourism should play a pivotal and dynamic role to make its presence felt at the international level.
2.14. Tourism in Manipur should be able to provide a unique opportunity for physical invigoration, mental rejuvenation, cultural enrichment and spiritual elevation for a memorable experience for the visiting tourists. The economic benefits of the industry should be able to filter down to the backward sections of the society and bring all round development of the State.
2.15. Sustained efforts would be made to comprehensively improve Welcome, Information, Hospitality, Accommodation, Transportation, Safety, Leisure, Hygiene and Environment, etc.
2.16. Implementation of policy statements and declarations made at various North-Eastern Council meetings organized by the Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region, Government of India for accelerated development of the North-Eastern Region.
2.17. To promote State tourism, local products and cuisines will be effectively marketed and publicized.
2.18. The promoters of tourism industry, hotels and travel agents will be encouraged to evolve and strictly follow Act, Rules and Guidelines prescribed and enforced by the Central Government and State Government.
2.19. Comprehensive programme for capacity development and hospitality promotion shall be organized from time to time in consultation with all stakeholders.
2.20. Manipur is ideally suited for adventure tourism. It would be the endeavour of the Tourism Department and PWD to develop seamless connectivity and encourage adventure Tourism.


3
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
The broad objectives of tourism development are:
i. Foster understanding between people.
ii. Create employment opportunities.
iii. Bringing socio-economic benefits to the people of Manipur.
iv. Strive towards balanced and sustainable development; and
v. Preserve, enrich and promote State's cultural and natural heritage.
One of the major objectives is the preservation of natural resources and environment to achieve sustainable development.
Given the low cost of employment creation in the tourism sector and the low level of exploitation of Manipur's tourism potential, the new tourism policy seeks to expand and facilitate domestic as well as foreign tourists in a manner that is sustainable by ensuring cultural preservation and minimizing any possible degradation of environment.
The Manipur Tourism Policy, 2014 also aims at making the stay of tourists in the State, a memorable and pleasant one with reliable services at predictable costs, so that they are encouraged to undertake repeated visits to Manipur State, as friends. This would be in tune with Manipur's traditional philosophy of giving the highest honour to a guest.
3.1 Tourism A Multi-Dimensional Activity
a. The Government will aim to achieve necessary linkages and synergies in the policies and programs of all concerned Departments/Agencies by establishing effective co-ordination mechanisms. The focus of the policy, therefore, will also be to develop tourism as a common endeavor of all the agencies vitally concerned with it.
b. It will be the policy of the Government to encourage people's participation in tourism development including Panchayati Raj Institutions, Local Bodies, Co-operatives, Non-Governmental Organisations and Enterprising Local Youth to create public awareness and to achieve a wider spread of tourist facilities. However, focused attention will be given for the integrated development of identified destinations with well-directed public participation.
c. Public and Private Sector Partnership: A constructive and mutually beneficial partnership between the public and the private sectors through all feasible means may be developed so that the Government and Private enterprises can join hands to maximize tourism development and for the sustained growth of tourism. It is, therefore, the policy of the Government to encourage emergence of such a partnership. The framework as indicated in 'Policy' will facilitate enhanced private participation in the tourism development activities. This will be achieved by creating a Tourism Development Society consisting of senior officials of the Government and tourism experts and professionals from the private sector.
d. Role of the Government: Tourism is a multi-sectoral activity and the industry is affected by many other sectors of the economy. The State has to, therefore, ensure inter¬governmental linkages and co-ordination. It also has to play a pivotal role in tourism management and promotion. The specific role of the Government will be to:
i. Provide basic infrastructure facilities including local planning and zoning arrangements.
ii. Plan tourism development as a part of the overall area development strategy.
iii. Create core infrastructure in the initial stages of development to demonstrate the potential of the area.
iv. Provide the required support facilities and incentives to both domestic and foreign investors to encourage private investment in the tourism sector.
v. Rationalize taxation and land policies in the tourism sector.
vi. Introduce regulatory measures to ensure social, cultural and environmental sustainability as well as safety and security of tourists.
vii. Ensure that the type and scale of tourism development is compatible with the environment and socio-cultural milieu of the area.
viii. Ensure that the local community is fully involved and the benefits of tourism accrue to them.
ix. Facilitate availability of trained manpower particularly from amongst the local population jointly with the industry.
x. Undertake research, prepare master plans, and facilitate formulation of marketing strategies.
xi. Organize overseas promotion and marketing jointly with the industry.
xii. Initiate specific measures to ensure safety and security of tourists and efficient facilitation services.
xiii. Facilitate the growth of a dynamic tourism sector.
xiv. Ensure that prevailing Acts & Rules, Guidelines on forest & environment and their protection and conservation are taken care of.
xv. Ensure adequate availability of power for all tourism projects in the State
e. Role of Private Sector: Tourism has emerged as the largest export industry globally and all over the globe private sector has played the lead role in this growth. The private sector has to consider investment in tourism from a long term perspective and create the required facilities including accommodation, time share, restaurants, entertainment facilities, shopping complexes, etc. in areas identified for tourism development. Non-core activities in airport, major stations and inter-state bus terminus such as cleanliness and maintenance, luggage transportation, vehicles parking facilities, etc. should be opened-up to private operators to increase efficiency and profitability.
The specific role of the Private Sector will be to:
i. Build and manage the required tourist facilities in all places of tourist interest.
ii. Assume collective responsibility for laying down industry standards, ethics and fair practices.
iii. Ensure preservation and protection of tourist attractions and give lead in green practices.
iv. Sponsor maintenance of monuments, museums & parks and provision of public conveniences & facilities.
v. Involve the local community in tourism projects and ensure that the benefits of tourism accrue to them in right measure.
vi. Undertake industry training and man-power development to achieve excellence in quality of services.
vii. Participate in the preparation of investment guidelines and marketing strategies and also assist in database creation and research.
viii. Facilitate safety and security of tourists.
ix. Endeavour to promote tourism on a sustained and long term perspective.
x. Collaborate with Government in the promotion and marketing of destinations.
f. Role of Voluntary efforts: Voluntary agencies and volunteers have to contribute their expertise and understanding of local ethos to supplement the efforts of other sectors to provide the human touch to tourism and foster local initiatives. All such efforts shall be encouraged.
g. Role of PRIs: Tourism assets could be effectively operated by the community organizations with the right training, incentive system and ownership sharing norms. The need to involve village level institutions is all the more relevant given the current state of law and order in the State and the huge investments made towards providing tourist infrastructure in deep interior locations across the State where urban entrepreneurs may not be keen to operate. Further, land ownership is also a critical issue in the State, especially in those areas where there are practices of community ownership of land. It is necessary to address the issue of ownership of tourism assets already created on community lands as well as those assets that may be in the pipeline.
3.2 Tourism Development Fund and Resources for Development
It would be the policy of the Government to facilitate larger flow of funds to tourism infrastructure and to create a Tourism Development Fund to bridge critical infrastructural gaps. Since, State Plan funding would be involved in the initial stage, Planning Department would be consulted for mapping out funding pattern.
Priority would be given for development of tourist infrastructure in selected areas of tourist importance and for those products which are considered to be in demand in the existing and future markets so that limited resources are put to the best use.
3.3 Foreign Investments, Incentives and Rationalization of Taxes
In view of large investment requirements in the tourism sector and the need for maintaining high quality standards in services, hotels and tourism related industries will continue to be in the priority list of industries for foreign investment.
In order to off-set the specific constraints of tourism industry and to put in place the required infrastructure as quickly as possible, particularly in less developed areas, appropriate incentive schemes would be considered. It would also be the endeavour of the Government to rationalize taxes, to put a cap of 20% on all taxes taken together on the accommodation and hospitality units, to allocate suitable land for tourism purposes at reasonable prices, harmonize movement of tourist transport across State borders, etc. Tourism Department will work out the annual fund requirement for this purpose. Since, incentives/subsidy should be outcome based and not investment based, it should be performance-linked and transparent parameters for this purpose would be devised.
The exemption of taxes will be subject to prior concurrence of Finance Department. The exemptions should be unit specific and period of exemption would also be as per the actual requirement of the unit in question.
The selection of private partner will be through fair and competitive bidding process and concurrence of Finance Department will be obtained on case to case basis. The Selection of Licensee be made by fair and transparent procedure and rate of royalties to be received by the Government will be decided in consultation with Finance Department.
3.4 Adoption of New Technologies
a. Efforts will be made to adopt the technological advances in the tourism sector to provide better facilities to tourists and to market the tourism product, to the benefit of all concerned.
b. Information Technology shall be given the pride of place in the efforts to promote Manipur tourism. Every endeavour in this regard would increasingly rely on optimising the use of e- commerce/m-commerce, use of internet for dissemination of tourism related information, increasing use of portals as gateway to accessibility to tourism information, development of Handy Audio Reach Kit (HARK) Tourist Guidance System at important monuments/heritage sites, networking of States, setting of tourist information kiosks, encouragement to information technology and eco-friendly practices by the private industries and above all keeping in sync with the global technologies for promoting and facilitating tourism.
c. The State Government will set up a modern Tourist Interpretation Centre to cater to various needs of travelers, foreign as well as domestic and to offer facilities for air and train reservation, money changing counters and information about all tourist centres in the State. The Centre will be equipped with e-connectivity and networking facility.
The economic and social benefits of tourism and its importance as an instrument of economic growth have to be fully recognized by all sections of the society. It would, therefore, be the endeavour of the State Government to bridge the information gap through proper statistical documentation of the impact of tourism and its wide publicity to create awareness so that the economic and social significance of tourism is well recognized and tourism is given due attention and priority.
3.5 Safety and Security
The safety and security of tourists are of primary importance both from the point of view of tourism development and the State pride. It will be, therefore, given high priority in the strategy for tourism development. The State Government would enact suitable legislation on travel trade/ tourist police for protection and security of tourists and for providing institutional mechanism to deal with complaints received from tourists and the industry so as to create a better security perception amongst actual and potential visitors.
3.6 Facilitation Services
Tourists have to pass through several Government agencies so as to meet the requirements under various laws. These include obtaining visas, undergoing immigration checks, obtaining permits to visit certain areas, payment of fees for certain facilities, etc. The endeavour of the Government would be to improve efficiency in providing such facilitation services and make travel to and within State a pleasant experience. Introduction of issue of Visa on arrival at least for 15 days at the airport, computerisation of the system of issue of Visa, streamlining of luggage handling system at airports, improving tourist facilitation services at the airports by adopting technological solutions are some of the important facilitation services proposed in this regard.
3.7 Tourism Economic Zone, Tourist Circuits, Special Tourism Area and Areas of Special Interests
a. Tourism Economic Zones will be created with private participation based on the intrinsic attractions, potential for development and availability of resources in these zones. Air, road and rail connectivity to these areas will be established to facilitate direct and easy access to these zones from international and domestic destinations. Adequate backward and forward linkages will also be established to ensure flow of benefits to the local community. The development of such zones will be guided by well-conceived Master Plans and executed by specific Tourism Development Society which will be created by the Government involving senior officers from the Department of Tourism, and other relevant Departments, professionals from tourism industry and representatives of Industry & Trade Associations.
b. Manipur with vast cultural and religious heritage and varied natural attractions has immense potential for growth in the tourism sector. Travel circuits and destinations would be developed through joint efforts of the Central Government, the State Government and the Private Sector. Loktak Lake and its vicinity would be declared as Special Tourism Area for integrated development. Steps will be taken to work towards the integrated development of all the tourist circuits with the involvement of all the infrastructure departments and the private sector.
c. Creation of Tourism Zones in forest land will be as per the provisions of Forest Conservation Act, 1980.
3.8 Sustainable Development and Perspective Plans
The principle of sustainable development stipulates that the level of development does not exceed the carrying capacity of the area. It will be Governments' policy to ensure adherence to such limits through appropriate planning instruments, guidelines and enabling regulations and their enforcement. Efforts will be made to diversify the tourism products in such a way that it supplements the main stream of cultural tourism. Comprehensive perspective plans for developing sustainable tourism by assessing the existing tourism scenario with respect to availability of natural resources, heritage and other socio-cultural assets, quantitative/demographic factors like population, employment, occupation, income levels etc., services and infrastructure will be developed by initiating immediate action in this direction. Carrying capacity at critical tourist destinations would be enhanced in a planned manner to provide major boost to the tourism industry in the State.
3.9 Conservation and Development
Tourism development needs to be properly guided and regulated to avoid adverse impact on the natural environment and cultural heritage which constitute the tourist attraction. A judicious balance needs to be maintained between conservation and development. Government will continue its policy of trying to maintain balance through planning restrictions and by educating the people in appreciating their rich heritage and by eliciting their co-operation in preserving and protecting it.
3.10 Promotion and Marketing
Promotion and marketing is an important component of tourism development and needs to be undertaken along with product development in conformity with consumer profiles and product characteristics. The policy of the Government, therefore, will be to develop and implement cost effective marketing strategies based on market research and segment analysis in each of the tourist generating country. Sustained efforts would be made for identifying possible markets, both domestic as well as overseas, after carefully studying the connectivity with the key cities.
3.11 International Co-operation
Tourism is a global industry requiring inputs from various international agencies and collaborations with other countries. The policy of the Government, therefore, will be to foster positive win-win partnership with all the international agencies and other countries. With the declaration of Imphal Airport as an 'International Airport', the immediate focus should be to quickly upgrade it and introduce International Flights viz., Imphal^Mandalay ^ Yangon ^ Bangkok etc.
3.12 Professional Excellence
Tourism being a service industry, it is necessary to enhance its service efficiency. The new policy will strive towards excellence by introducing professionalism through training and re-training of human resources and providing memorable visitor experience to both domestic as well as international tourists.
4
CURRENT SCENARIO & SWOT ANALYSES
4.1 Current scenario
Manipur is blessed with the majestic Loktak Lake, the strategic location of Moreh town, the uniqueness of the floating Keibul-Lamjao National Park & the Sangai Deer, the beauty of the & Dzukou Lilies, along with the naturally formed limestone caves, pristine green hills and valleys, meandering rivers, cascading rapids, exotic flora & fauna complimented by a rich arts & culture, folklore, myths & legends, indigenous games and artistic handloom & handicrafts. These make Manipur a little paradise on earth and an enticing destination for a tourist to explore. The Asian Development Bank has identified the region as a ‘Key Area' due to its ‘unrealized potential as an eco-tourism product'.
The mystery of the Indian Classical Dance form Raas-Leela with their intricate costume design, the wonder of the Pung-Cholom (Drum Dance), the vibrant tribal dances, the local handloom and handicrafts are some of the precious treasures any tourist will find appealing. The exotic cuisines, the unique tribal cultures and the soothing native music can be an enchanting discovery for various tourists visiting the State. The birthplace of modern Polo, the indigenous games of Yubi Lakpi, Kang Sanaba, Arambai, Thang-Ta and Mukna will prove to be a thrilling experience for any enthusiastic tourist. Weaving is a time-honoured occupation in the land and has been fine-tuned to an art form with its intricate designs.
Despite enormous potential of Tourism in Manipur, its development in the bygone years remained trivial due to various reasons. The erstwhile PAP regime for entry of foreigners while entering the State; the remote geographical location of the State with resultant accessibility and connectivity issue; poor availability of resources leading to poor economy; lack of infrastructures, facilities & amenities to cater to various types of tourists; lack of subject specific professionals & experts, lack of training & tourism awareness, lack of co-ordination between departments, etc. are the major hindrances for harnessing State's immense tourism potential. The problem is further compounded by frequent bands, road blockades, strikes, protests, etc. resulting to social unrests. Manipur has been afflicted by insurgency which often deters tourists. However, the situation in Manipur has substantially improved recently which is an encouraging sign.
With the increase in number of air flights reaching Imphal, the capital city of the State, introduction of night landing facilities since 2011, on-going extension of railways line to Imphal from Jiribam, exclusion of Manipur from the Protected Area Regime since January, 2011, improved law & order situation, establishment of a 3-star category hotel in 2009, on-going development of other 4-star category hotels, proposed Institute of Institute of Hospitality Management (IHM) and other tourism project developments have all resulted in steady rise in number of tourist arrivals and has helped in propagating Manipur tourism in the country and the world.
With planned and professional harnessing of tourism potential, Manipur is likely to become a preferred tourist destination which in turn would help in increasing both domestic tourists arrivals as well as generating the much needed employment, socio-economic benefit, revenue and other ancillary benefits to the State.
The State Government in the recent years has given due priority and importance to the development of adequate tourism Infrastructure & Services for the development of tourism in the State. Some of the important steps taken by the State are:
• Destination Development.
• Development of Tourist Circuits.
• Adventure Tourism Development.
• Identification & celebration of Fairs & Festivals.
• Marketing, Publicity & Promotion activities.
• Culture, Arts & Crafts, Handloom promotion.
• Human Resource Development.
• Participation in National and International events.
• Tourism Master Plan.
> Destination Development Projects sanctioned till 2013-14
i. Improvement of the surrounding of INA Complex at Moirang.
ii. Tourist Home at Sendra.
iii. Tourist destination at Imphal under Integrated Destination Development Scheme.
iv. Development of Eco-tourism Park at Imphal.
v. Construction of Arts & Crafts Centre at Maibam-Lokpa Ching, Bishnupur District.
vi. Integrated development of Tourist Destination in Bishnupur.
vii. Construction of Integrated Tourist Destination at Jiribam.
viii. Up-gradation of Integrated Tourist Destination at Sendra, Moirang in Bishnupur.
ix. Tourist destination development at Ishingthingbi Lake.
x. Construction of Integrated Tourist Destination at Sipuikon Village, Tipaimukh Sub-division, Churachandpur.
xi. Construction of Integrated Tourist Destination at Tupul, Senapati.
xii. Construction of Integrated Tourist Destination at Longmai (Noney), Tamenglong.
xiii. Mega Project - INA Memorial Complex at Moirang.
xiv. Eco-Tourism Complex at Thangal, Senapati (Mayangkhang).
xv. Tourist Destination development at Khongjom War Memorial Complex.
xvi. Integrated Tourist Destination at Ningthem Pukhri, Imphal-Eco-Tourism Complex, Imphal East District
xvii. Integrated Tourist Destination at Manipur Adventure and allied Sports Institute (MAASI) Complex, Keirao, Imphal East.
xviii. Integrated Tourist Destination at Mughal Garden at Waroiching, Leimaram, Bishnupur District.
xix. Integrated Tourist Destination at Kakching Garden, Thoubal District, Manipur.
xx. Integrated Tourist Destination at Kotsophai, Chakpikarong, Chandel District, Manipur.
xxi. Integrated Tourist Destination at Chingkhei Ching, Imphal East District, Manipur.
xxii. Integrated Tourist Destination of Eco-Tourism Complex at Mata Mualtam Hyde out Park, Churachandpur District, Manipur.
xxiii. Integrated Tourist Destination at Shiroy Hills at adjoining areas, Ukhrul District
> Tourist Destinations Projects prioritized for sanction during 2014-15
i. Integrated Tourist Destination at Sadu Chiru Waterfalls.
ii. Integrated Tourist Destination at Andro.
iii. Integrated Tourist Destination at Loukoipat.
iv. Integrated Tourist Destination at MaibamLokpaching and adjoining areas.
v. Integrated Tourist Destination at Singda Dam and adjoining areas.
vi. Integrated Tourist Destination at Irong Water Body & adjoining hills at Manitripukhri, Imphal.
> Development of Tourist Circuit Projects sanctioned till 2013-14
i. Integrated Tourist Circuit - Imphal-Thoubal-Pallel-Tengnoupal-Moreh.
ii. Integrated Tourist Circuit - Imphal-Bishnupur-Churachanpur.
iii. Integrated Tourist Circuit - Imphal-Luwangsangbam-Sekmai-Kanglatombi-Hengbung- Senapati-Maramkhullen-Mao.
iv. Integrated Tourist Circuit - Imphal-Mahadev-Lambui-Finch Corner-Hundung-Jessami.
v. Integrated Tourist Circuit - Leirenpat-Pruksoubi-LeisangHiden in Imphal East.
vi. Integrated Tourist Circuit - Imphal-Tuima.
vii. Integrated Tourist Circuit - Imphal-Singda Dam.
viii. Integrated Tourist Circuit - Imphal Hotel-Shilheipung-Selloy.
ix. Integrated Tourist Circuit - Imphal-Tamei.
x. Integrated Tourist Circuit - Chingphou Macha, Cingphou Achouba & Khoriphaba.
xi. Integrated Tourist Circuit - Chullouphai-Ngaloimol-Sangaikot.
xii. Integrated Tourist Circuit - Marjing Polo Complex and Heingang (Marjing Pony Sanctuary).
xiii. Integrated Tourist Circuit Linking Barak waterfalls, Tharon Cave Zeilad lake Bunning Meadow in Tamenglong District.
xiv. Integrated Tourist Circuit at Millennium Garden, Rose Garden, Kombirei Garden, Thangmeib and Sinam, Sekmai and Kanglatongbi Imphal District, Manipur.
xv. Integrated Tourist Circuit at Karang, Chaoba Ching and Thanga, Bishnupur District.
> Development of Tourist Circuit Projects prioritized for sanction during 2014-15
i. Development of Integrated Tourist Circuit around Hiyanthang Temple, Heibokching and adjoining areas.
ii. World War-II Tourist Circuit including establishment of World War-II Museum at Imphal.
> Mega Tourist Circuit Projects sanctioned till 2013-14
i. Development of Integrated Mega Tourist Circuit for Marjing Polo-Keina- Khebaching (Khongjom) in Manipur.
ii. Development of Tourist Resort at Sendra Hillock, Water Sports Complex at Takmu and other Tourism Facilities in Adjoining Area, Bishnupur District, Manipur
> Mega Tourist Circuit Project prioritized for sanction during 2014-15
i. Integrated Mega Tourist Circuit for providing of Infrastructure in and around Imphal City, Manipur
> Adventure Tourism Development
i. Infrastructure development of Adventure Tourism Complex at Lamdan.
ii. Hosting of Equestrian Championship at Imphal (Polo and Sagol Kangjei).
iii. Water Sports.
iv. Youth Adventure Tourism.
v. Purchasing of adventure sports equipments.
> Identification & celebration of Fairs and Festivals
i. Sangai Festival.
ii. Kut Festival.
iii. Mera Houchongba.
iv. Lui-Ngai-Ni.
v. Pineapple Festival.
vi. Orange Festival.
vii. Lemon Festival.
viii. Loktak Day.
ix. Lily Week.
> Marketing, Publicity & Promotion activities
i. Pictorial Book on Manipur.
ii. Development of Photo CD-ROM on Tourist interest in Manipur.
iii. Design & Development of Interactive Website of Manipur Tourism.
iv. Brochures, Calendar, Posters and other relevant material.
v. Promotion of Manipur Tourism through 'Incredible India' campaign.
> Culture, Arts & Crafts, Handloom Promotion
i. Promotion of Cultural Festivals at various location of the State.
ii. Participation in Arts & Crafts Exhibitions and Melas.
iii. Promotion of Handloom products.
> Human Resource Development
i. Establishment of Institute of Hotel Management (IHM).
ii. Tourists Reception-cum-Information Centres.
iii. Development of Human Resources, Training and Capacity Building Programmes.
iv. Network of travel agents, tour operators and other services providers.
> Participation in National and International events
i. South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE), 2013 at New Delhi.
ii. North-East International Tourism Mart, 2013 at Guwahati and at Tawang.
iii. International Tourism Mart, London.
iv. International Tourism Bourse, Berlin.
v. Travel and Tourism Fair, Kolkata, Ahmedabad & Mumbai.
> Large Revenue Generating Scheme (LRGS)
i. Integrated Cable-Car and Lakeside Tourism Development at Loktak Lake, Manipur'
> Tourism Master Plan
Preparation of Tourism Master Plan by the State Government on the lines of Integrated Tourism Master Plan for North-East prepared by NEC/DoNER& Ministry of Tourism through the Tata Consultancy Services.
4.2. SWOT Analysis
Assessment of Manipur's product offerings show that in spite of the richness in terms of eco/nature, religious, cultural and adventure offerings, tourism has not picked up in Manipur. A major reason for this is the lack of a proper environment for tourism to prosper in the State. This environment has many attributes like:
• Security for the tourist to visit places freely.
• Proper infrastructures in terms of availability of transport, suitable accommodation, ATM facilities and information centres.
• Readiness of the product to attract new tourists and increase repeat VISITORS.
Manipur scores low in terms of security and infrastructure but has the potential to show a turnaround if proper efforts are put in this regard. Manipur has a lot to offer in terms of historical places and monuments like Kangla, which is the ancient capital of the State. This holds a lot more importance and is one of the most important archeological sites. It is famous for its fortress, sacred places like ‘Nungjeng Pukhri', which is a sacred pond believed to be the abode of lord Pakhangba, ‘Shri Shri Govindaji Temple' and many others.
Its culture is equally rich. Manipur dance is one of the classical dance forms of India, a depiction of ‘Raas Leela', which is the celebration and yearning of the 'gopies' (milkmaids of Brindavan) for Lord Krishna. There are cultural festivals in Manipur, which mark celebrations throughout the year. The most important among these is 'Yaoshang' - a festival of Manipuri Hindus and is marked with celebrations and Manipur folk dance called 'Thabal Chongba' in which boys and girls hold hands together and sing and dance.
Another great advantage for Manipur is its variety in terms of landscape and water bodies. There are good trekking routes across the State for adventure lovers, and at the same time beautiful lakes like Loktak Lake, which provides a serene environment for the nature lovers. There are opportunities and hot spots to develop many forms of adventure sports like rafting, para-gliding and angling.
A. STRENGTHS
• Variety in terms of tourism offerings. The State has destinations that can cater to religious, adventure, eco/leisure tourism segments of the market.
• Offers a cultural treat through the Manipuri dance forms and an adventure treat through avenues for sports.
• Unique Loktak Lake. 
WEAKNESSES
• Security and internal conflicts - both in terms of perception and reality.
• Lack of Visa-on-Arrival facility to Myanmar's citizens at Moreh-Tamu border.
• Limited tourism infrastructure facilities, particularly in terms of quality, experience and site services.
• Many projects are delayed in implementation, causing development lags.
• Lack of good road infrastructure leading to poor connectivity with the Tourist spots/destinations.
C. OPPORTUNITIES
• Presence of border town like Moreh and the international boundary with Myanmar has been looked as an opportunity to develop border markets.
• Linkages to the circuits within the region with major highway development connecting destinations across States and South-East Asian Countries.
• Fostering coordination with other States on developing tourism.
• Opening up of Railway line upto Imphal.
• Declaration of Imphal Airport as an ‘International Airport'.
D. THREATS
• Instability and perception of lack of security in the region with potential to affect tourism movement.
• The continuous fear of unstable environment can make the tourism investment climate unattractive.
• Over use and commercialization of sensitive eco-zones may lead to depletion of resources and dilution of attraction.
5
THRUST AREAS: NICHE TOURISM PRODUCTS
Niche tourism products related to the special interests of tourist target markets shall be improved, developed and promoted to position Manipur as an unique and competitive destination for tourists both domestic and international.
5.1 NATURE/ECO-TOURISM
i. Nature tourism is the travel through and enjoyment of the natural world, its seasonal cycles and events, carried out in a manner that promotes the protection of natural and human communities. Community leaders, public officials, agencies, and others who are interested in sustainable nature tourism will find tools to get started and links to other helpful information. A sustainable nature tourism industry is directly related to the type, amount and quality of natural capital in community.
ii. Manipur has a rich flora and fauna with a comfortable climate which can provide a variety to nature/eco-tourism. ^
iii. Formulation of eco-tourism policy and a joint task force, which may include the adoption of regime for regulation of tourism activities in and around Keibul Lamjao National Park and Loktak Lake, in consultation with the Department of Forest, Department of Ecology & Environment and Loktak Development Authority, to focus on conservation and enhancing the eco-tourism experience. This shall also essentially include Dzukou Valley, Hills, Tamenglong, Koubru Hills, Baruni Hills, Jiri-Makru Wildlife Sanctuary, Zeilad Wildlife Sanctuary and Bunning Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamenglong District, Kailam Wildlife Sanctuary in Churachandpur District, Yangoupokpi Lokchao Wildlife Sanctuary in Chandel District, National Park in Ukhrul District, Manipur Zoological Garden, Khongampat Orchid Preservation Centre etc.
iv. The Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP), the world's only floating park and the natural habitat of the Sangai (Brow-Antlered) deer, shall be promoted as an integral part of Manipur's tourism product. Priority shall be given to the preparation of the site and visitor management plans and further enhancement of the quality of tourist facilities available at KLNP.
v. Sadu Chiru Waterfall in the foothills of Bishnupur District is the new tourist hot spot of Manipur and needs to be developed as a preferred eco-tourism destination.
vi. Nature tourism centred on villages, coupled with ‘Homestay Concept', shall be promoted as an important tourism product of Manipur to spread tourism and its socio-economic benefits to rural areas.
vii. The objectives of promoting Nature Eco-Tourism shall be realized by:
a. Conservation of biological diversity through ecosystem protection.
b. Promotion of sustainable use of biodiversity, by providing jobs to local populations.
c. Sharing of socio-economic benefits with local communities and indigenous peoples by having their informed consent and participation in the management of eco-tourism enterprises.
d. Tourism to preserve and protect natural resources, with minimal impact on the environment through regulation of visitors as per the carrying capacity and Acts, Rules and guidelines in force.
e. Minimization of tourism's own environmental impact.
f. Affordability of eco-tourism facilities.
g. Local culture, flora and fauna to be the main attractions.
5.2 CULTURE TOURISM
i. Manipur is uniquely rich in its culture and heritage of the people. The Government shall
endeavour to develop, enrich and promote various forms of the cultural heritage which shall
essentially include:
a. Various Exotic Dances of the State viz., Raas Leela, Khamba-Thoibi Dance, Pung Cholom, Maibi Dance, Nupi Pala, Nupa Pala, Lai Haraoba Dance, and various tribal dances like the Kabui Dances, Kuki Thadou Dance forms, Bamboo Dance, Naga Dances and other adapted dances.
b. Indigenous Sports like Sagol Kangjei (Polo), Thang-Ta, Sarit Sarak, Yubi Lakpi, Hiyang Tanaba, Mukna, Kang Sanaba, Arambai, etc.
c. Indigenous Festivals and Fairs namely Yaoshang (Holi) and Thabal Chongba, Kang (RathYatra), Ningol Chakouba, Cheiraoba, Heikru-Hitongba, Gang-Ngai, Kut, Lui-Ngai- Ni, Chumpha, Orange Festival, Pineapple Festival, etc.
d. Indigenous Music includes Khullong Eshei, Pena Eshei, Khubak Eshei, Nat, etc.
e. Indigenous Cuisines
f. Fine Arts, Handloom and Handicrafts.
g. Manipur Sangai Festival held annually from 21st to 30th November.
ii. Integrated development of areas around cultural and heritage sites.
5.3 MEDICAL TOURISM
Patients prefer to travel for treatment for various reasons viz., inaccessibility to good medical facilities and hospitals, long waiting time to undergo a surgery/treatment, leisure, vacation or convenient element during travel, etc. and diasporas seeking treatment back in their native land. The healthcare system of a land should essentially fulfill criteria like better nursing facilities, faster
personalized services, cutting edge technology and lower cost of treatment to cater to the visiting patient-tourists.
Manipur today has the requisite medical expertise, equipments and professionals to fulfill these criteria. Immediate demand for medical tourism can be seen from neighbouring States like Mizoram and Nagaland, and also from neighbouring countries with underdeveloped facilities like Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. Therefore, medical tourism is identified and proposed to be developed and nurtured into a niche tourism product of the State and a comprehensive plan shall be drawn-up to encourage investors, entrepreneurs and healthcare professionals to boost medical tourism in Manipur. This form of tourism would also contribute to the overall tourism economy creating direct and indirect employment opportunities, enhancing income and improving the general healthcare quality of the State. Furthermore, it is intended to entice the visiting tourists, who come to admire the beauty of the Loktak Lake or enjoy the exquisiteness of the natural flora & fauna, to have a 'health' purpose to their vacation as well. Thus, 'Medical Tourism'in Manipur shall ultimately seek to combine travel, tourism, leisure and treatment.
Strategic Action Plans that need to be taken-up to develop medical tourism in Manipur are as follows:
i. The Government shall endeavour to accord ''Industry Status' to the Accredited Healthcare Facilities in the State under the NEIIPP-2007.
ii. Identification and accreditation by NABH (National Accreditation Board of Hospitals and Healthcare providers), Joint Commission International (JCI) or ISO 9001:2000, which is the generic standard for Quality Management System across the world, of healthcare facilities is essential to improve the quality of services as well as to receive admissible support from the Government. In addition, a Tourism Advisory Committee be constituted which could act as the accreditation body of the Government, setting the benchmark for quality and deeming a Healthcare Facility as a 'Tourism Unit'.
iii. A healthcare facility which has a track record of service and catering to domestic and foreign patient-tourists shall be deemed as a 'tourism unit' and get all admissible incentives accordingly from the Government.
iv. Investment in the health sector through establishment of hospitals offering primary, secondary and tertiary level health care facilities including medical educational institute and allied services like pharmacies, diagnostics, pathological laboratories, training and skill development for para-medical services shall be given maximal priority.
v. Linked Departments and Agencies shall make earnest efforts to construct, improve and maintain star accommodation facilities, approach roads, power and water supply, garbage and bio-medical waste disposal, gas plants and patient-tourists facilitation at or near the healthcare facilities.
vi. Allopathy including diagnostic sciences, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy, Yoga and traditional medicine are the identified areas for promotion of medical tourism in the State.
vii. The use of Information Technology and other IT enabled services shall be paramount in the game-plan of the Government in promoting healthcare tourism in Manipur.
viii. Several important players in the medical tourism sector are identified such as doctors, tour operators, hotels, hospitals and insurance agencies. A perfect coordination between all these players is absolutely essential to develop this sector into a booming business. While doctors play a key role in spreading the word about the medical services available in Manipur during their visits outside the State and abroad, medical tour operators or travel facilitators actually arrange the tours for interested parties and liaise with insurance companies. These facilitators shall be groomed and encouraged to have tie-ups with the doctors, hospitals, hotels and insurance agencies within and outside Manipur.
ix. Med Tour Pal, India Medical Tourism, Medical Tourism Corporation, Health Base, etc. are some reputed national and international medical tourism facilitator companies. The Government shall introduce new schemes and policies to approve and tie up with these companies and other local medical tourism service facilitators in coordination with the healthcare providers for a proper direction in boosting medical tourism in Manipur.
x. Participation in conferences in key markets shall be encouraged to forge networking with domestic and global health facilitators and insurance companies and referral points.
xi. Reputed doctors, who are essentially well known inside and outside the State, may be selected and appointed as brand ambassadors to promote and establish trust of patient- tourists coming to Manipur for treatment purposes.
xii. Public Private Community Partnership (PPCP) shall be encouraged to develop and promote medical tourism in the State.
xiii. Healthcare Visa is an important issue which needs to be taken-up urgently with the Government of India to facilitate easy, hassle-free and friendly approach to foreign patient- tourists coming to Manipur especially from Myanmar for availing medical facilities. At present, citizens of Myanmar cannot visit the State beyond the mandatory 16 Kms without further clearances and permits. Further steps are therefore required to modify the relaxation of RAP/PAP so that these tourists can fully explore freely the land and avail medical facilities. This will also boost the Indo-Myanmar Border Trade to a great extent. Visas may be issued only to patient-tourists booked with a local licensed tour/medical service operator.
5.4 ADVENTURE TOURISM
i. The Government would seek to explore and develop the adventure eco-tourism focusing on the following:
a. Loktak Lake for Water Sports.
b. Dzuko Valley located in Senapati District.
c. Hill and its 'LHy'and Kangkhui Cave Trekking in Ukhrul district.
d. Bunning Meadow, Zeilad Lake, Barak Waterfalls, Khoupum Water Falls, Kicha Hill and Tharon Cave in Tamenglong district.
e. Parasailing & Paragliding at Koirengei Old Airfield, Chingnungkok of Imphal East District and Rafting at Barak River. Canoeing, Kayaking and Rowing are also conducted at Loukoipat, Takmu, Phubala and Komlakhong areas of Loktak Lake.
ii. Regulations and certification for adventure tourism operators will be introduced so that the minimum standards of safety and conservation are met.
iii. National Level Guidelines for Adventure Tour Operators to be adopted.
iv. Use of latest technologies like GPS, Satellite phones, etc. to be encouraged for adventure tour operators recognised by the Government for client safety.
v. Insurance schemes shall be introduced for adventure tourists.
vi. Introduction of training courses for adventure guides and adventure tourism subjects in the proposed Institute of Hotel Management at Imphal.
vii. The Government shall work in tandem with certified and licensed organizations, agencies and NGOs like the Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association, etc. for developing and promoting a sustainable adventure tourism industry in Manipur.
5.5 OTHERS
i. MICE Tourism
a. Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) shall be encouraged to capitalise on the seasonal trends of nature tourism.
b. Facilitate setting-up of Convention Centres in the State for development of MICE Tourism.
c. Creation of a database of scientific, technical, medical associations, convention centres, and convention services.
d. Training manpower specifically for the MICE industry.
ii. Shopping shall be recognized and developed as an integral part of tourism. The development of dedicated shopping centres for traditional handloom and handicrafts designated along the lines of village Haats like 'Dilli Haat' and 'Shilpgram' shall be encouraged and information on where to procure specific items made available through shopping guides and websites.
iii. Special attention to popularize the unmatched variety of local Cuisines. It is proposed to create a highly skilled workforce of indigenous culinary professionals through innovative incentive scheme.
iv. Imphal shall be positioned as the Cultural Capital of Manipur supported by an ongoing and vibrant calendar of cultural events.
v. Domestic tourism in India is mainly pilgrimage related and Manipur should take advantage of this opportunity. Travel facilities as well as facilities at Pilgrimage Centres need to be strengthened and made more tourist-friendly. Pilgrimage Centres may be identified and integrated with new domestic tourist circuits wherein transport, accommodation, catering, and pilgrimage are all synergized to make pilgrimage tourism into a popular and comfortable mode.
vi. Historical sites like INA Complex, Mo/rang; Japanese War Memorial, Maibam Lokpa Ching; War Cemeteries, Imphal; Baruni; Koubru; Kaina, etc. may be promoted. Similarly, heritage sites like Kang I a Fort, Imphal; Govindajee Tempie-Wangkhei-Ningthem Pukhri-Ramjee Temple Complex would be developed and promoted.
5.6 COMMUNITY TOURISM
Any Tourism Policy needs to be committed towards enhancing community-based tourism, which is all about sharing the local natural resources with the world. By doing this, State can reap sustainable benefits and conserve the natural environment.


6
ACTION PLAN
The following is a list of action points emerging from the Manipur Tourism Policy, 2014 indicating the Ministries/Departments/Agencies responsible for implementing these actions:
6.1 Action points relating to Facilities
a. Nature Interpretation centre
A separate Nature Interpretation centre may be set-up to educate people including tourists about the richness of biodiversity of the State, Acts, Rules and Guidelines of Ecotourism and also to inspire a sense of appreciation and understanding value of nature.
b. Tourist Interpretation Centre at Imphal
Setting-up of Tourist Interpretation Centre as one stop tourist reception centre to cater to various needs of travelers, foreign as well as domestic and offer air and train reservations, money changing counters and information about all tourist centres with e-connectivity and networking facilities to all State tourist offices.
[Action: Tourism and Art & Culture Department]
c. Augmentation of Air Seat Capacity
• Assessing sector wise and season wise air seat capacity, and load factors and augmentation of capacity in the critical sectors by the National Airlines.
• Improvement of accessibility in State. Special attention would be given to areas having important tourist centres which are not connected by trains/buses. Promoting arrivals in destination of interest by creating hub and spoke operations. Giving impetus to Heli Tourism and Helicopter services to areas not serviceable by fixed wing aircraft.
• Construction of airport/helipads on Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) through private sector participation.
• Up-gradation of Imphal Airport as an International Airport.
[Action: Ministry of Civil Aviation]
d. Rail Services
• Introducing tourist trains. Special funds need to be earmarked for this purpose.
• Improving hygienic conditions, environment and passenger facilities in and around Railway Stations serving important tourist centers.
• Construction of budget hotels at important railway nodes.
[Action: Ministry of Railways]
e. Road Network
• Development of public transport infrastructures like bus terminals, parking yards equipped with public conveniences and hygienic eating joints are developed at important tourist destinations, besides improving the roads.PWD wouldstrivetoprovide seamless road connectivity to major tourist spots.
• The State Transport Authority Manipur may also consider grant of contract carriage permits in respect of intermediate public transport vehicles for enhancing connectivity in between important tourist destinations with District Headquarters/Sub-Divisional Headquarters of the State.
• Providing wayside amenities along with filling stations at a distance of about 60 kilometers on all the highways connecting important tourist centers.
• Providing standard signage's on all roads leading to tourist spots.
• Ensuring uninterrupted inter-state movement of tourist coaches and vehicles through rationalisation and single point collection of taxes.
[Action: Ministry of Road Transport & Highways + State PWD + Transport Department]
f. Maintenance of Heritage Sites and Improvement of Tourist Facilities
• Ensuring proper maintenance and professional site management of important tourist attractions/monuments under the control of Archaeological Survey of India/State Archaeology Department.
• Involving local authorities, trusts, etc. in the restoration/preservation of tourist attractions and maintenance of the surroundings.
• Providing world class tourist facilities, amenities and landscaping of area around important monuments in a phased manner.
• Identification, documentation and video publishing of all the monuments which are great tourist attractions.
[Action: Archeological Survey of India and Art & Culture Department]
g. General Improvement of Tourist Facilities
• Computerisation of the system of issue of Visas by the Embassies/High Commissions.
• Introduction of issue of Visas on arrival atleast for 15 days at the airport and at India- Myanmar border at Moreh.
• Distribution of tourist information brochures through Indian Embassies/High Commissions.
• Streamlining of luggage handling systems at the airports to ensure that the luggage is transported and cleared within 30 minutes after the arrival of the flights.
• Improving tourist facilitation services at the airports by adopting technological solutions and imparting training to functionaries at the cutting edge level like customs and immigration officials, taxi drivers, guides, etc.
• Introduction of air-conditioned taxis with electronic fare meters at the airports.
• Provision of special taxi and coach enclosures extending from arrival halls at the airport and controlled by security staff so that passengers can queue up easily and pick-up taxis and coaches without hassles.
• Mounting Video-Cameras in strategic places inside and outside arrival areas to prevent corruption and for security purpose.
• Augmenting information services at the airports.
• Removal of PAP restrictions.
• Provision of money changing facility in all the tourist centers.
• Providing international standard signages at tourist centers, airports, railway stations, bus stands, etc.
[Action: Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of
Finance (Department of Financial Services) and State Government]
6.2 Action Points relating to Information
• It is imperative and pertinent to have a proper public information system both online and offline with specific reference to tourist information system pertaining to availability of public transport/intermediate public transport system having link with respective information for important parking places/halting stations/terminal points, distance between place of origin and destination, rate of fare, mode of transport and duration of journey etc.
• Setting-up a chain of exclusive souvenir shops stocking specially manufactured and beautifully packed information books and other souvenir items at important tourist places in a professional manner.
• Introduction of audio-guides at the important tourist places on a commercial basis.
• There have been revolutionary changes in the computer and communication technologies and other relevant sectors, which are still changing. Such technologies have helped sharing of information globally to the advantage of all. Information Technology for improving visitor information and facilitation should be effectively used. Setting-up of Touch Screen Information Kiosks, development of Tourism Portals with links to all tourism related web sites, production of CD-ROMs, creation and maintenance of websites, introduction of computer based information and reservation systems, use of virtual reality systems and video-conferencing for tourism promotion, etc. are the activities proposed in this regard.
[Action: Tourism, Information Technology and Art & Culture Department]
6.3 Action Points relating to Safety and Security
• Launching of campaigns through local bodies, non-governmental organisations, youth centres, etc. to create awareness about the traditions of Manipuri hospitality and the importance of providing an assurance of safety and security