Kohima, Nagaland
Kohima, NagalandShutterstock

Permit Process To Get Easier For Foreigners Visiting 3 NE States

Restricted Area Permits and Protected Area Permits are mandatory for non-Indian citizens to enter certain areas in India, including the Northeast states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland

Travelling to the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland will now be more convenient for foreigners. The Union Ministry of Tourism's Regional Director in North East, Anil Oraw, recently announced significant simplifications in acquiring Restricted Area Permits (RAP) and Protected Area Permits (PAP) for foreigners travelling to these northeastern border states.

"In the past, obtaining RAP or PAP was a challenging process, but the Indian government, which is actively promoting the North East as a tourism destination, has relaxed these restrictions," said Oraw.

What Changes Now?

Local tour operators will handle all the necessary facilitation, and there is a minimal rejection rate for foreign tourists in these states. However, tourists are advised to apply a bit in advance to ensure a smooth process.

Foreign travellers require RAP or PAP to explore specific regions in the North East, particularly border states like Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland. Oraw stated that now, any foreign traveller can visit these states through organised tours, which must be arranged by a local tour operator based in the respective state. Furthermore, the Indian government has plans to promote tourism in the border areas over the next few years, as these regions currently lack significant economic activities or industries.

Mechukha Town, Arunachal Pradesh
Mechukha Town, Arunachal PradeshShutterstock

The government aims to allow tourists to venture up to four kilometres near the borders with China and Myanmar, providing additional opportunities for the local population in these areas. The regional director mentioned that the Army is also cooperating in this endeavour, and multiple ministries, including home, defence, and tourism, are working together to open up border tourism and boost employment prospects for the residents.

Meanwhile, several villages have been recognised for their unique features, such as Kibithu village in Arunachal Pradesh, where it is believed that the country's first sun rays touched the land.

Future Endeavours

Oraw highlighted the significant potential for collaboration between India and Vietnam in the tourism sector. Presently, there's a low influx of tourists to India from Vietnam but a substantial outflow of Indian tourists to Vietnam.

Among the Southeast Asian nations, Malaysia leads in terms of tourists visiting India, followed by Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, and then Vietnam, as he noted. Addressing this gap, Oraw said efforts are being made to encourage tour operators from Vietnam to explore opportunities in India, particularly in the North East, which has gained popularity among domestic tourists in the post-COVID era.

Oraw emphasised that people are increasingly interested in "green tourism," and the North East region holds great potential. In 2021, domestic tourism in the North East set records, with 1.3 crore individuals visiting from other parts of India. This surge in tourism is attributed to the region's openness, cleanliness, friendly and hospitable people, the availability of facilities, including five-star hotels and homestays, and the abundant natural beauty it offers.

(With inputs from PTI)

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