Ampati: The Tourism department in a bid to boost tourism and improve tourist amenities in the state has started a new scheme, Meghalaya Tourism Development and Investment Promotion Scheme 2012 wherein entrepreneurs will be given financial assistance to establish resorts and home-stay facilities. This was informed by South West Garo Hills Tourist Officer Trida Sangma at an elaborate function celebrating World Tourism Day at Katta Bheel in Nogorpara, South West Garo Hills. Attended by NGOs, villagers, senior citizens, school students and college students, the function themed ‘One billion tourists, one billion opportunities’ was organized by the Tourism department in collaboration with the South West Garo Hills district administration.
Elaborating on the scheme the tourist officer stated that the initiative was started to promote tourism in the region by empowering entrepreneurs. People who want to start a resort can avail a maximum financial assistance of Rs 1 crore subsidized by 30 percent while those who want to establish home-stay facilities will be given a maximum amount of Rs 16 lakhs subsidized by 30 percent she stated. She later informed that the programme was being held to create awareness on the tourism sector, its potentialities and livelihood opportunities.
Speaking on the occasion as a guest, Achik Tourism Society Secretary Dipu Marak stated that the venue of the gathering, Katta Bheel was of historic significance as the 80 bigha lake had been dug on behest of a local king who was later appointed as a zamindar during the late eighteen hundreds. He urged the citizens of the region to take the lake as an asset and work together with the tourism department to preserve it and spread its fame. Delving on the rich culture and heritage of the people of the region he suggested that a tourist circuit can be created to tap into the abundant tourist interest sites of the area.
Emphasizing on the need to protect and preserve tourist spots he also stated that satisfying hospitality and etiquette was of equal importance to boost tourism in the region.
Among others who spoke on the occasion was Reverend P. M. Sangma.