[Assam] Assam tourism ready to welcome the world
Pradip Kumar Datta
pradip200 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 20 22:46:50 EDT 2006
Ready to welcome the world
- Assam department goes for an image makeover to attract tourists MAITREYEE BORUAH Amuya Pegu, a tourist guide, enlightens visitors in Guwahati on Wednesday. Picture by Eastern Projections Guwahati, Sept. 20: Smartly dressed and fluent in English, Rashmi Das fits nicely in the image of a young executive in the corporate sector. This semblance has been assiduously cultivated in her new avatar as a tourist guide by the Assam tourism department.
The department has, for the first time, introduced trained guides for its tour packages and the result is already showing. Within the first two weeks of this makeover, the department has managed to woo 100 foreign and 250 Indian tourists.
Rashmi is part of the 25-member first batch of guides who underwent a 25-day crash course. She is now ready to take on the world, or rather take the world out on a party. The job of a tour guide is respectable and offers a good opportunity to earn a decent income. After the training, I am confident of doing my job efficiently, she said.
The guides were trained in theory and practical aspects of tourism by experts from the department. Special emphasis was placed on English with an eye on foreign tourists. We enrolled only those candidates who had a good grounding in English. Tourists, in general, like to be helped by guides and as the Northeast is still shrouded in mystery for most of the world, introduction of trained guides is likely to attract more tourists, an official of the tourism department said.
After completing the course, the guides get a remuneration of Rs 2,500 per month. They are also free to guide tourists on their own, the official added.
As part of the state tourism revamp, the department has introduced a Guwahati-Shillong package tour and sight-seeing of major historical and heritage sites in Guwahati. The daylong Guwahati- Shillong tour will be conducted in an air-conditioned coach and cover Shillong Peak, Elephant Falls, Umiam Lake and Wards Lake, among others. The Guwahati sightseeing tour would include the Kamakhya, Umanand, Navagraha and Balaji temples, the state museum, state zoo and Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra.
A group of officials from the department had recently attended the Pacific Asia Travel Association travel mart in Singapore and more are likely to attend the world travel mart in London in November.
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