Director-general of Union ministry of tourism Satyajeet Rajan on Sunday visited the Keibul Lamjao National Park to explore the feasibilities of developing homestays to boost tourism.
Accompanied by vice-chairman of the Manipur Infrastructure Development, Asnikumar Moirangthem, Rajan surveyed the park, the only floating wildlife sanctuary in the world and a natural home to the threatened deer species, sangai (brow-antlered deer), by boat, The Telegraph reported.
Rajan is camping in Imphal after he attended a two-day international convention of the service industry that began on February 22.
He met villagers living around the sanctuary and consulted the park’s forest officials in-charge on measures to be taken to promote tourism.
Keibul Lamjao is located inside sprawling Loktak lake, the largest freshwater lake in the Northeast. The 45km park is the only natural home to sangai and it attracts tourists, both domestic and international.
Several tourists, including a team from Chicago, came to have a glimpse of the rare deer species on Sunday.
“I have discussed the matter of developing homestays here with your chief secretary and tourism officials. I will request the state government to come up with an action plan and set up the infrastructure,” he said.
“The Northeast has a huge potential for homestays and constructing hotels would not ensure sustainable tourism. Homestays are the only solution,” the official added.
“My purpose of visiting the park is to see whether there is an opportunity to establish homestays here. If the state government comes out with a proposal, the tourism ministry can turn it into a reality. There are investors to finance the initiative. The tourism ministry can also help provide loans to villagers to set up homestays,” Rajan said.
He urged Moirangthem, who hails from Keibul Lamjao village, to help the state government make at least 50 homestays in the village by the next season.