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Monday, June 24, 2024

CM bats for direct flights between NE, Thailand to boost tourism

To showcase Northeast India and explore the shared history between India and Thailand, the second edition of the three-day Northeast festival commenced in Bangkok.

SHILLONG:

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, on July 30, said that a direct flight from Northeast to Thailand would boost tourism in both countries.

“Imphal flights would be much faster, and the flights from Guwahati would shorten the trips,” Sangma said, while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the main event of the second edition of the Northeast festival underway in Bangkok.

Sangma said he believes that the upcoming signing of Mini Free Trade Agreement (MFTA) with five states of India will be a game-changer for Assam. However, he wishes to see the other Northeastern states also sign MFTA as according to him, it has the potential to boost tourism and the economy in the region.

The five states to sign MFTA are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, and Assam.

The chief minister also said that political will is important for anything to happen. “The connection of youth, music, and people-to-people connection is a must,” he said.

Sangma added that the process should continue and not end with just a programme.

“Entrepreneurs, governments need to ensure that,” he said, adding that he is a “big fan of process and not events”.

Sangma said that he is hopeful that this festival, under the vision of the Act East will not only deepen India-Thailand relations but open vistas for future positive connections of India with other South East Asian countries with North East being its gateway.

Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, Jurin Laksanawisit said that festivals like these will further boost cooperation and tourism between both the countries. Recalling his first visit to India, Laksanawisit spoke of the immense tourism potential in India.

Minister of State for External Affairs and Education, Rajkumar Ranjan Singh said that the connectivity with Asian countries is strategic for India.

“The road from Moreh in Manipur to Mossi in Thailand will be a game-changer. India and Thailand airlines’ direct connectivity to Northeast will boost tourism. We welcome the business community of Thailand to explore the potential of India, especially the Northeast,” Singh said.

To showcase Northeast India and explore the shared history between the countries, the three-day Northeast festival commenced at the Centara Grand Hotel in Bangkok on Friday in the presence of 150 Thai tour operators interacting with the tourism stakeholders of the Northeast.

The two countries, Thailand and India, share historical ties and the first NE festival took place in Bangkok in February 2019.

Notably, Thailand is the fourth largest destination among South Asian countries for India.

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