Indian Union tourism minister K.J. Alphons on Wednesday assured that tourism in Meghalaya, especially in Sohra, would be developed. Addressing a BJP meet in Sohar, Alphons, who hails from Kerala, said Sohra was more beautiful than God’s own country.
“I have been given a representation regarding the development of Sohra and I will certainly study this and we will certainly try and do a lot of things for Meghalaya, especially in the tourism sector, ” he said.
“We are not giving gifts unlike the Congress government. We are here to deliver things. We will plan it out and see what we can do. But let me assure you that there is immense potential for tourism in Meghalaya and we will ensure that this is developed and used,” he said.
Alphons was also given a concept paper that focused on the development of Sohra for the next five years. The concept paper was handed over to Alphons by former Sohra legislator P.W. Khongjee, who was earlier with the Congress.
The concept paper talked not only about developing tourism in Sohra, but also about the development of entrepreneurship for the people of the area.
On tourism, it was noted that the inflow of domestic tourists into Sohra had doubled in the last decade. In 2006, over four lakh domestic tourists visited Meghalaya and the number increased to over eight lakh in 2016.
At the same time, visits by foreign tourists have increased from 4,000 in 2006 to about 8,000 in 2016.
Making a special mention about agro-tourism, the paper noted that the main objective of agro-tourism would be to convert agricultural business and farms into tourist attraction spots.
Agro-tourism would also provide jobs and encourage villagers to remain in the rural areas and concentrate on agricultural activities rather than looking for jobs in urban areas.
The major activities to be taken up for entrepreneurship development include tourism, agriculture, horticulture, apiculture, livestock, hospitality and others.