AN EXPLORATION OF TOURISM DEVELOPMENT OF MEGHALAYA, INDIA: WHAT IS THE WAY FORWARD?
Keywords:Tourism Development, Meghalaya, Nature-Based, Sustainability, Regulation
Tourism is an important economic sector in Meghalaya contributing 7% (approx) to the state GDP. An inquiry into tourism development of a destination presents a valuable insight into the nature of progress and acts as a base for the way forward. Accordingly, the current study aims at exploring tourism development of Meghalaya. The data used is secondary in nature and includes interviews with knowledgeable personalities in the field of tourism. The study found that tourism development can be viewed in terms of the last 45 years with nature-based beauty as the “unique selling proposition”. The stages are classified into inception (1980s-1990s) whereby tourism initiated from Sohra, setting-up (2000-2014) and take-off (2015-2019). Presently, the covid-19 pandemic has hampered development. The way forward requires a focus upon sustainable tourism development, conservation of natural resources, promotion of community-based tourism, infrastructure development and service quality. Here, the role of regulation is seen as critical with active participation of the stakeholders.
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