On the 27th of March 2019, the Consulate General of India in Sydney and Australia India Travel & Tourism Council (AITTC) jointly organised a Tourism roadshow event, ‘Know North East India Better’ at the Indian Consulate’s Swami Vivekanand Cultural Centre. Over 80 distinguished guests and industry experts attended the event, with guest of honour, Dr. A.M Gondane, High Commissioner of India to Australia.
In his speech, Dr. Gondane highlighted the benefits that the tourism and hospitality industry brings to the bilateral relations between India and Australia. And with India’s focus on the Act East Policy and the India Economic Strategy to 2035, there is significant amount of interest in this region, particularly in this sector. He encouraged the tourism industry veterans based in Australia to visit and experience these enchanting and unexplored eight states, to be able to recommend this ‘one of a kind’ experience to their Australian clientele.
“A unique but common thread that connects the eight North Eastern states of India, would be the confluence of international flavours, art and culture,” Sandip Hor, Chairman, AITTC told the gathering. “Being the frontier region, the North East of India shares its border with Myanmar, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. You will see the influence of these neighbouring countries in the languages spoken here, in the architecture, design, clothes, food, music and culture. For instance you will find the Buddhist monasteries of Nepal, Tibetan food and clothes, and so on.”
The event showcased the multiple dimensions of these states including a live Bihu music and dance performance by Nabonita Banerjee and her troupe, video bytes from eminent BBC travel journalist Rajan Datar and Northeast India Tour Operator (NEITO). Caroline Poiner, Founder, Artisans of Fashion, a social enterprise working directly with the artisan communities across rural India, in her video presentation displayed the master craftsmanship of the indigenous handloom silk and textile weavers and artisans from these regions.
“Some of the most memorable sights and experiences when I visited these regions were spending time at the banks of Brahmaputra, seeing the magnificence and beauty of the Himalayan range, the Kanchanjenga from Sikkim; the one-horned rhinos at the Kaziranga National Park – which are almost extinct – basking in the wilderness,” Sandip added. “In spite of having a common connection, each of these eight states also have something unique of their own. For instance in Tripura, elements of Bengali culture, such as Bengali cuisine, literature especially Rabindranath Tagore’s work, and music are widespread.”
The North-Eastern states were established during the British Raj of the 19th and early 20th centuries, therefore, “most people in these states know at least 3 languages, English, Hindi and a regional language, so we didn’t quite face a language barrier when we travelled through these states,” said Chris Packett, an ardent traveller, as he shared his experience of travelling in these regions.
Some of the other speakers included Chandru Appar (Acting Consulate General); Motti Abraham (Business Development Manager, Air India) and Burt Niu (Sales Manager, Air Asia). The event was concluded with a vote of thanks by Phillip Boniface, Co-Chairman & Treasurer AITTC, and lucky draw prizes sponsored by Khaver Ali Khan of Secrets of India and Thushara Liyanarachchi of Taj Hotels.