In a bid to drive tourism in distant locales of Arunachal Pradesh, in proximity to the China border, the government has mooted easing entry rules under the ‘protected area permit regime’. The decision comes after a meeting of the inter-ministerial coordination committee on tourism sector. Arunachal Pradesh being the first beneficiary of the government initiative, the move is likely to benefit other states bordering neighbouring countries such as Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir and others in not so distant future. In terms of specifics, Tawang Valley – home to picturesque Buddhist monastery – Ziro and Bomdila are some of the regions in the state where the government has decided to provide inner-line and protected area permit.
Commenting on the decision and backing Ministry of Home Affairs for their decision, tourism minister K J Alphons noted that the tourism ministry had written to MHA two years ago asking for easier norms to allow more tourists to visit Arunachal Pradesh. “Easing these norms will facilitate tourism and allow more people to be able to see far flung places”,” he said. While speaking to TOI, tourism secretary Rashmi Verma said, “The effort is to open up Arunachal Pradesh to more tourists. While Tawang is among the most popular destinations in Arunachal due to its Buddhist connect, the ministry is also in the process of exploring eco-tourism potential of the Dibang valley in eastern Arunachal.”
Arunachal Pradesh, being one of the most unexplored destinations, holds tremendous potential for travel and tourism. Being a hill state and owing to limited resources, tourism could well turn out to be a principal driver of its economy. It will also augur well for creating employment for the locals, besides bringing the state in to limelight for its offerings that yet remain vastly untapped. The government’s decision to open up previously restricted areas to tourists may turn out to be a game-changer for the state in the long run.