Tourists @ Hornbill Festival: Where are the numbers?

Tourists @ Hornbill Festival: Where are the numbers?

Nagaland ranked 30 in attracting tourists in India


Morung Express Feature News

Nagaland, which organizes the annual ‘Hornbill Festival,’ may not be attracting tourists in big numbers, a recent tourism survey highlighted.


The survey, undertaken by Hotelivate in collaboration with the World Travel & Tourism Council-India Initiative (WTTC-II), revealed that the overall arrival of tourists in Nagaland was lowest among the 30 states and Union Territories (UTs) it covered. The bi-annual Survey is based on data collected over last two years.


The ‘2017 Indian Ranking Survey’ informed that a total of 61,438 tourists visited Nagaland in 2016. The State was ranked 30 in attracting domestic tourists at 58,178 persons and 28 in attracting foreign tourists with just 3,260 persons.


The eleven parameters that the surveyors looked at were: state expenditure on tourism, number of tourist visits, number of branded hotel rooms, GSDP per capital, literacy, aircraft movement, ease of doing business, urbanization, road and rail network, marketing campaigns and some intangible aspects.


Overall, India registered roughly 8.8 million international tourist arrivals in 2016 (exclusive of NRI arrivals and transit arrivals) and earned an estimated $22.9 billion as Foreign Exchange Earnings. The top five states in tourism rankings are Delhi, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.


Among the North East States, Sikkim was ranked 1 while Mizoram and Tripura occupy the second and third positions respectively. Overall, Sikkim was ranked 22nd position in the list followed by Mizoram (23), Tripura (24), Assam (26), Nagaland (27), Manipur (28), Arunachal Pradesh (29) and Meghalaya (30).


In the overall consolidated ranking, Nagaland has remained static scoring – 2011- 27; 2013- 25; 2015- 28 and 2017- 27.


The Survey acknowledged the underperformance of the NE states (including Nagaland) by stating: “It is quite evident that the NE states in certain cases are unable to compete on a par with other states in the country owing to a host of challenges. While each state is blessed with natural beauty, the very same geographic challenges restrict access to and within the states. Similarly, all NE states do not have the presence of any branded hotel supply.”


Hornbill effect dissipating?
Declaring tourism as a ‘core industry’ under the State Industrial Policy, the Nagaland Tourism Policy was adopted in 2000 with the Hornbill Festival leading the pack. In its fourth edition the Government inaugurated the Naga Heritage Complex at Kisama village, Kohima, as a permanent spot for the festival on December 1, 2003.


According to Government of Nagaland, the festival is a cultural extravaganza, serving two purposes – it gives the exotic and rich experience of what is ‘Naga’ to the visitor and help revive, protect and preserve the uniqueness of Naga culture and heritage. However, the government seems to be slow in its marketing.


In Point Allocation for Effectiveness of Marketing Campaign, Nagaland was ranked 25. Under this, the state was in 29th position in social media outreach while Nagaland tourism department’s website was ranked 28, 29 and 29 in 2013, 2015 and 2017 respectively.


The State tourism department data also suggests that the number of Festival visitors were lowest in 2016, with only 1,12,604 visitors – 1,646 foreign tourists, 14,962 domestic tourists, and 95,996 local visitors.


As per the data, 2015 edition was most profitable with 2,43,113 visitors – 1,360 foreign tourists, 19,969 domestic tourists and 2,13,000 local visitors. 1,72,404 and 1,62,318 visitors came to the State respectively in 2014 and 2013.


Did demonetization play spoilsport in 2016? Only this year’s data will give a clear picture as foreign tourists increased during the same period.


From an estimated 200 foreign tourists prior in 1998–99 to 1,500 in 2002 to 1,646 in 2016, there has been an increase in international tourists but data indicates that domestic and local visitors are, perhaps, losing interest.