Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, on May 15, said that people outside of the Northeast have no clear concept about the land and people and what the states have to offer.
Khandu made the statement as he flagged in the 2nd edition of the Trans-Arunachal Drive at Tawang marking the conclusion of the 2000-plus km adventure drive supported by Mahindra Group.
“People don’t have a clear concept of the Northeast. What they think or visualize is much different from reality. This is a region with so much to offer but due to scant media exposure it remains unexplored,” Khandu said.
“When the Northeast is mentioned, most people in the mainland visualize it up to Assam, which in fact is wrong,” he said.
Speaking to members of the drive – a mixed conglomeration of off-road drivers, media persons, vloggers, bloggers, social media influencers and exponents of the tourism industry – Khandu expressed optimism that they must have got a real taste of what Arunachal offers in the tourism sector.
He said the absence of mainstream media in the region, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh, the potential it possesses in the tourism sector still remains hidden.
“That’s the main reason behind this drive. To offer influencers, media persons covering adventure and tourism sectors and independent vloggers and bloggers something which they personally cannot resist,” Khandu revealed on a lighter note.
As far as Arunachal Pradesh is concerned, Khandu informed that the state is geographically the largest state in the region, which many people do not know.
“It is so large and diverse that despite being a native of the state, I too travel around the state just as a tourist. The moment I step out of my home district, a different tribe, a different topography, a different culture, a different language, a different cuisine, a different everything awaits me!” he explained.
Delving more on Arunachal’s diversity, Khandu claimed that real Arunachal lies beyond the point where the road ends.
“The Arunachal you have seen and experienced is along the roads. Arunachal is beyond it. I invite you to hike to places where roads haven’t reached yet and experience Arunachal in real terms,” he suggested.
“In any case, by now, you must have realized that when it comes to taking adrenaline-pumping drives and adventures to the next level, Arunachal Pradesh is the place. Our state has the right climate, right terrains, right roads and the right people needed for a drive of a lifetime,” Khandu added while expecting that the drive would expose to the world the state’s potential.
The chief minister informed that as India was evolving from the Covid pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started the campaign ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ to revive domestic tourism. Taking the cue, he said, the state government pushed the ‘Dekho Apna Pradesh’ to encourage its citizens to travel across their own state and revive the tourism industry that had taken a beating due to long periods of lockdowns.
Emphasizing on responsible tourism, Khandu urged the participants of the drive to promote the same.
“Please tell your readers, subscribers, followers and fans to follow responsible tourism. Mother Nature is very sensitive to pollution. So tell them -when you visit Arunachal Pradesh, take back beautiful pictures and great memories but leave behind just footprints,” he added.