Shillong: A three-day mega tourism conclave has shown the path for greater sustainability as organisers did not use single-use plastic during any of its events and digital technology was leveraged seeking to reduce usage of paper to a bare minimum. The 11th edition of the International Tourism Mart (ITM), hosted by the Union Tourism Ministry, was held in the Meghalaya capital from November 21-23. It was attended by delegates from various parts of India and abroad. While badges distributed to delegates were printed ones, its back side carried a QR code that allowed them to download brochure and other material related to the event.
Even for media delegates, it was the same and no physical media kits were issued. The QR code was the way to access the e-documents.
Officials said the idea was to “go paperless” as much as possible during the conclave and give out a message to people towards “aligning our goals” towards promoting sustainability by taking eco-friendly measures.
So, at a host of events organised during the ITM, including press meets, no single-use plastic was used from the organisers’ side, and delegates too were encouraged to avoid its usage.
In sightseeing itineraries, it was mentioned that delegates should bring their own bottle for drinking water, as bottled drinking water was not served in sync with the organisers’ plan to have no usage of items made of single-use plastic.
At luncheons and dinners, spoons made of steel or recycled material were offered to guests.
The ITM is an “annual event held by the Ministry of Tourism in one of the northeastern states on a rotation basis, with an objective to provide a bigger platform to stakeholders in the Northeast to interact with their counterparts from both within the country and overseas markets, the ministry said.
It said the ITM also aims to create awareness about the tourism potential of the Northeast region.
This ITM is a “unique event” as it is being held as a ‘green’ event by adopting low-carbon options on the lines of the action points formulated by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for the implementation of Mission LiFE, officials had earlier said.
Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) is an India-led global mass movement to nudge individual and community action to protect and preserve the environment.
And, in consonance with the aim to reduce carbon footprint, digital technology was leveraged at the ITM in order to reduce usage of paper to as minimum as possible.
Hence, digital display panels were put up along with some physical ones at the venue of the conclave — Lariti Performance Centre — at Mawkasiang here.
The centre was inaugurated late last year to mark 50 years of formation of the state of Meghalaya with Shilong as the capital.
Even during the inauguration of the ITM on Tuesday, the main podium too had a small screen on its front displaying the title poster of the event as well as other digital content. State banners of the eight northeastern states on the stage were also displayed digitally.
Bamboo and traditional fabric of Meghalaya were prominently used in stagecraft.
In the exhibition area, stalls also had designs made using bamboo sticks and other traditional material and displayed products made locally from different states.
A mock-up tree of cherry blossom was erected in the foyer right in front of the main entrance of the venue complex.
Near it a photo booth was set up and it used sensor-based cameras to click pictures of guests. An official said,
However, no print photos were given at this booth. Guests were emailed their pictures using a smart digital set up.
Risangpuii, a volunteer at the photo booth was seen showing photos to people on a laptop connected to the booth where the images were getting immediately transferred after being clicked.
A student of environment science at Shillong-based North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Risangpuii said it was a very good idea to avoid use of single-use plastic and paper at such events. She told PTI,
Drinking water is distributed to people using a large number of plastic bottles usually at such events. And, this ITM has really shown a way forward and set a standard of sort in being environment-concious while working on developing idea.
The tourism conclave had kicked off in Meghalaya’s scenic capital on Tuesday with Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma describing as “unprecedented” the kind of economic growth being seeing in the Northeast in the last few years.
On the opening day of the conclave, Sangma had taken the ‘Travel for LiFE’ pledge along with others, officials said.
‘Travel for LiFE’ is a campaign under the Mission LiFE that urges tourists to take steps that promotes sustainably while travelling.
The event sought to highlight the tourism potential of India’s northeast region and its rich biodiversity while laying emphasis on the government’s Mission LiFE.
Union Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Naik at the inauguration had said that the government was trying to “make this event (ITM) a carbon-neutral one”.
Shillong has hosted this event for the second time, since its inception.
The earlier editions of the ITM have been held in Guwahati, Tawang, Gangtok, Agartala, Imphal, Kohima and Aizwal.
The ITM aims to highlight the northeast region’s unique tourism products, rich biodiversity, its intangible heritage, including local traditions, dance forms, arts, handicrafts and handlooms, to a domestic and international audience.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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