Cultural Tourism and Business Opportunities in Nagaland

Mhonthung Yanthan
Asst. Professor Department of Political Science St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama

Nagaland today is in a favourable situation where many famous tourist destinations could be projected and perhaps cultural tourism is one potential area. Nagaland is characterized by rich cultural resources that can attract cultural tourists with the entire cultural ethos such as festivals, folk dance, folklore, traditional customs, unique traditional political institution, indigenous games, traditional knowledge of medicinal plants etc. Cultural tourism relates to those individual groups of people who travel around the world, individual country, local community and individual events that seek to experience heritage, religion, art and craft and various sites to develop knowledge of different communities and their way of life. Cultural tourism can contribute to the local economic regeneration and prosperity (Prentice and Andersen, 2003), since it is regarded as a tool for generating new employment opportunities for the host population. It encourages opening of small and medium-sized family enterprises (Bachleitner and Zins, 1999), which offers unique and authentic local products where a large number of unskilled or semi unskilled workers may be available locally during the whole period (Barnett, 2001) and also where local traditional jobs are maintained or revived.The development of cultural tourism as generator of income and recognized from of tourism has emerged as an objective of both heritage institutions and tourist operators around the world.Nagaland has a huge potential for cultural tourism and business opportunities available at doorsteps.These opportunitiescan be explored by giving institutional support by establishing tourism institute/university in the state.  

Both cultural tourism and the marketing of traditional crafts and textiles can serve as powerful catalysts for the preservation and ongoing viability of both the tangible and the intangible heritage of the Nagas. My personal opinion is that Heritage Village at Kisama where Hornbill Festival is celebrated every year from 1st -10thDecember is well appreciated initiatives by the govt. of Nagaland,but the sad reality is that after 10 days of celebration the Heritage Village and its infrastructures are keep unused and abandon for the remaining 255 days.For this reason, we can consider converting Naga Heritage Village at Kisama into Naga Heritage Institute/College/University to impart training and skill on tourism.This initiative will help the students to understandthe concepts of tourism and employment opportunities in the state. It will also attract international students, researchersand tourist through the year to learn and experience Naga Cultural Heritage. Government of Nagaland can think of this tremendous opportunity readily available.  

Another initiative to promote cultural tourism can be through various Colleges in Nagaland by integrating Naga Cultural Studies as Add-On courses through common syllabus. This initiative can be another breakthrough to promote cultural tourism and enhance business opportunities in Nagaland.Until and unless it is institutionalist and integrated in schools, college and university syllabus, skill based knowledge cannot be obtain. Cultural tourism has the potential of being a ‘beautiful transaction’ between hosts community and visitors, as well as providing economic rewards serving as a catalyst for development of basic infrastructure. The marketing of traditional crafts and textiles within the cultural tourism context can directly benefit both the individual artisan and the artisan community and can provide viability and sustainability for traditional occupations.