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Drape of tradition to woo the world

- Tourism mart opens today

Guwahati, Jan. 18: Dress in your traditional best when you step out tomorrow, for the world will be watching.

Taking a cue from the Ladakh festival, Union tourism secretary Parvez Dewan today appealed to Guwahatians to go traditional in their attire tomorrow when the three-day international tourism mart opens, just as the people of Ladakh had done.

Setting the “traditional” pace at daybreak will be a bhortal performance by a team of 450 artistes, dressed in shimmering white, at the Sarusajai stadium. It promises to be a “treat” to the eyes and something that the cameras cannot miss. Bhortal nritya is a dance form that a dancer performs with bhortal (a kind of cymbal) in both hands.

The importance of the International Tourism Mart, Guwahati, is that it is not only the first international tourism event to be organised in the Northeast but also the first international tourism mart to focus on a specific region of the country. The idea is to invite people from all over the world to discover “paradise unexplored”.

“It is a simple appeal to residents of the city to come out in their traditional dresses as it will send a good message to the tourism business fraternity who are coming from the country and overseas,” Dewan said at a news conference here today.

“We had appealed to people in Ladakh during the Ladakh fest to go traditional, which they did. Ladakh is a small place. Guwahati is far bigger in comparison. But there is no harm in people from different communities wearing their own dresses instead of the normal attire,” he said.

Artistes from various states of the Northeast will take out a big cultural procession from Judges Field to important places in the city tomorrow for the benefit of the visiting tourism business fraternity. It would be nice if the local people come out in their traditional attire, too.

The mart will be inaugurated here tomorrow by governor Janaki Ballav Patnaik in the presence of Union tourism minister Chiranjeevi.

Dewan complimented the Assam government for doing everything possible to make it a grand show.

On all the three days, guests will be able to savour local cuisine of the nine participating states, including West Bengal. They will be given souvenirs too.

Apart from food and fun, there will be serious business sessions hosted by the state governments. Altogether 85 delegates from 23 countries, including ASEAN countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Japan, Korea, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK and the US have confirmed their participation. Besides foreign delegates, there are approximately 70 domestic buyers from other parts of the country and 108 sellers from the nine participating states.

In addition to the business meetings, there will be post-mart familiarisation tours to the states in the region, which have been arranged by the state governments for overseas delegates to create awareness about the rich and varied tourism products of these states and to give them a first-hand knowledge and experience of the destinations.