Published on : Monday, March 26, 2018
Travel And Tour World indulges in an exclusive discussion with Angau. I. Thou, Commissioner and Secretary to Government of Nagaland, Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Department of Tourism, Nagaland Tourism at ITB Berlin 2018.
In this informative discussion, Ms. Angau Thou informs readers about the unique tourism delights of the Indian state of Nagaland. She also speaks about a few growth challenges, local cuisines and its contribution to the MICE sector.
Travel And Tour World: How is the event ITB Berlin going for you?
Angau I. Thou: It is a wonderful experience for all of us here and this is the first visit of Nagaland at this event. So it is a really nice experience because currently, Nagaland, as you are well aware is in the north eastern part of India and it is yet to be explored.
Travel And Tour World: It is the third day at ITB, so do you mean it is a very successful show for you? Are you looking forward to lure mainly German tourists via this event or tourists all over Europe at large?
Angau I. Thou: It is not only from Europe that we aspire to attract travellers, but from the entire globe. We want the entire world to come and witness the unique beauty of Nagaland, for instance her scenic beauty, rich culture and green pastures, particularly in the month of December when we have the Hornbill Festival every year. Last year the tourists visiting Nagaland doubled that of 2016 and hopefully 2018 will be much better in this regard.
Well, as a matter of fact, the communication and transportation network in our state is not up to the mark.
However the Government of Nagaland is on a war footing to improve them. The new Chief Minister just sworn in recently is very concerned about our tourism sector and is quite keen to see Nagaland rise up to the level of other parts of the world.
We have the Sichuan tribes where we have different cultural items and famous handicrafts and we wish to showcase to entire world that we Nagas are second to none.
Travel And Tour World: Tell me something exciting in Nagaland, for instance a tourist is there for seven days, what are the main activities they can indulge in?
Angau I. Thou: Well the first thing I would like to emphasize upon is that people perceive Nagaland is not peaceful but on the contrary, we are very peaceful at present. The second arena where tourists will be attracted is the fact that we are hospitable. Then, we are also encouraging ‘homestays’ where tourists coming to Nagaland will have the taste of local people there in Nagaland. Therefore our hospitality is maximum since whatever we eat you shall be served and you will never go hungry.
Travel And Tour World: Do you have a convention centre in Nagaland can you explain about it as MICE is really important for us and for the whole country of India.
Angau I. Thou: We have had the North East Asia Conclave in Kohima where group of people from other countries had participated. The Gateway of North East Asia is also Nagaland, that is coming through Myanmar and Manipur. I am sure tourism that is crucial department of all departments, will focus on the importance of Nagaland, so that we can have the best connectivity with the rest of the world.
Travel And Tour World: Now I would like to ask you about the indigenous cuisine of your land. When travellers visit a new destination they are really interested about the local food.
Angau I. Thou: We have a variety of interesting local cuisines as Nagas are famous for their cooks, and we can cook all sorts of European items. We can also cook Indian dishes complete with all the spices and even local foods. So I am sure tourists coming to Nagaland will really enjoy their stay with us.
Travel And Tour World: I can see very colorful dress and jewelleries in pictures here. Can you speak a bit about what those little girls are wearing in the photographs?
Angau I. Thou: You know Nagaland has 16 recognized tribes out of which all tribes have got different dresses and we are very proud of all the attires we wear. The beads, necklaces, ‘mekhlas’ that are worn are woven by the regional women. We also have handicrafts which we are really proud of and we wish to see sustainability. Therefore we also want youngsters to learn how to weave. Women in Nagaland are more hardworking and are the stepping stones of a family.
Travel And Tour World: Tell me in terms of inbound tourists, which are the main countries from where most of the people visit Nagaland?
Angau I. Thou: We receive a majority of tourists from Germany, Spain, Italy, France and the UK. We get globetrotters from all across the world, in fact. In terms of the tourist figures they don’t ascend up to millions and lakhs, but it comes in thousands. But then last year the number of foreign tourists arriving here were more than lakhs, during the Hornbill Festival so we can say that the inflow of tourists from all across the world and even from India is really going up.
Travel And Tour World: Also the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had made a special plan for North-East development, so I am sure it will definitely enrich tourism in your State.
Angau I. Thou: Hopefully so, because last year during Hornbill Festival the honorable President of India had come where maybe he had attracted a lot of tourists not only from India but also from various parts of the world. And it is our main target of the Nagas especially the tourism department to showcase the unique culture of Nagaland and also the unique tribal culture of Nagaland and the various dance forms on a global platform and thereby attract an increasing number of visitors.