Meghalaya could do with sustainable tourism, says British envoy in India

British High Commissioner to India Sir James Bevan in a discussion with Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma at the CM’s residence in the city on Tuesday. (MIPR)

Shillong: Meghalaya and the North Eastern states have all the ingredients for adventure and eco-tourism but lack the infrastructure, says British High Commissioner, Sir James Bevan, who was in Meghalaya for a one-day visit on Tuesday.

“Having travelled to 24 of the 28 states of this country I realise that India’s growth story is not written in Delhi. I met the Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma and we discussed areas of co-operation in Climate Change, Education and Skills Training for youth. Several British Universities are looking for partners. Perhaps this is an area we can explore,” Sir James said adding that the United Kingdom is also looking at trade and investment in infrastructure and health.

The British High Commissioner said he spoke to a number of people and found in them optimism, energy and excellence which are all inspiring traits Speaking about his visit to IIM Shillong, Lord Bevan said the students are ambitious in a good way and are keen to transform North East. They expect to produce a new generation of students who will invest in Meghalaya, he said.

Pointing to the need for promoting sustainable tourism, Sir Bevan said the North East should emulate Bhutan which promotes low impact, high revenue model of tourism where the footfalls to the State and scenic locations are controlled through more upmarket selling strategies.

“More people need to know about Meghalaya and the North East. The hotels and other infrastructure should be decent for people who are willing to spend big money on adventure and eco-tourism. You have the software by way of talented, English speaking, energetic young people. What is needed is the hardware which comprise good roads and easy communication facilities,” Sir Bevan pointed out.

The British High Commissioner said he was told that in 2012 there were 768 foreign tourists that visited Meghalaya.

He said the number is very small compared to the number of foreign tourists visiting other states, adding that Meghalaya should make a better sales pitch for tourism.

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Date / Fecha: 10/07/13

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