Nagaland: NTA supports virtual Hornbill Festival

A performance during the Hornbill Festival 2017. (Morung File Photo)

A performance during the Hornbill Festival 2017. (Morung File Photo)

Kohima, November 1 (MExN): While the Nagaland Government’s decision to conduct a ‘virtual’ Hornbill festival has received mixed reactions from several civil organisations and the public, the Nagaland Tourism Association (NTA) on Sunday rallied behind the idea of a virtual celebration of the event.

In a statement appended by its President A David Solo and former President Vincent Belho, the NTA said that the Hornbill Festival is the only occasion where the tourism fraternity in the State is “assured of generating good revenue and income.”

It further said that earnings from the festival enable them to continue through the lean months of the year. “Hence the continuity of the Hornbill Festival holds great importance to every one of us in this industry,” it added.

However, the NTA also noted the dangers posed by COVID-19 and said that the protection of lives is now more important than ever.

“In the current scenario, having a physical Hornbill festival like that of the past years is not possible and should not even be considered a possibility. Thus, we come to the idea of a Virtual Hornbill,” it added.

“A Virtual Hornbill festival, as we understand it, will be a media oriented one where there will be no inflow of tourists to the State or mass gatherings of any kind. It will instead promote the largest and most anticipated festival of festivals to the outside world through the means of social and electronic media i.e. YouTube, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc. by using recorded footage of the festival,” the Association wrote.

The NTA said that it would support the State Government’s decision if it is planning to host such a virtual event.

“We feel that Hornbill festival hosted virtually over the internet will not only be COVID – 19 prudent as there will be no physical presence of tourists in Nagaland, but will also give an opportunity to our many talented media production houses, videographers, content developers, voice over artists, musicians and cultural troupes to showcase their expertise and earn some much-needed revenue in an otherwise similarly dry industry,” it reasoned.

It expressed hope that the Government would engage local talents and media houses for the same.

Highlighting the need for to promoting tourism in Nagaland to the global community of travellers and tourists ‘at every opportunity’, the NTA said that having a virtual Hornbill is a “perfect opportunity to reach out to a greater audience.”

While acknowledging that a virtual festival would not bring in any immediate business or benefit to the industry, the NTA said that continuity of the festival, is a vital tool for the promotion of the State in the ‘post COVID-19 era’.

As such, it voiced support for the move which it said, would be a step in the right direction by the Government for the development of tourism in the state in the long run.