The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland attracted a record 2,43,214 visitors this year, a sharp climb compared to the previous years, a government official said.
Tourist Officer of the Department of Tourism, Toka E Tuccumi said a total of 2,43,214 visitors, including 2,401 foreign tourists, 38,700 domestic and 2,02,113 locals enjoyed the festival during the 10 days. This year, the number of visitors was higher by 1,30,610 compared to last year’s total of 1,12,604 visitors, he said. The 10-day festival, which is the annual showpiece tourism event of the state, was inaugurated on December 1 coinciding with the 54th Statehood Day celebrations by President Ram Nath Kovind.
The festival concluded at the picturesque Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, yesterday amid mega bonfires and the tunes of Naga war cry and beats of traditional log drums reverberating in the background. The massive turnout at the festival provided the visitors ample opportunity to take prized photos and getting a lowdown on some of the Naga cultural dances during the "Unity Dance" performed by the 17 tribes of the state.
Nagaland Governor, P B Acharya said, "Hornbill Festival is designed in such a manner that it coincides with Statehood Day Celebration which gives an opportunity to all the Naga tribes to converge at one location to showcase the best of their tribal costumes, songs and dance." People from different walks of life gathered at the latest edition of the festival which is a remarkable achievement for the Tourism Department, he said. Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Apok Jamir in his speech thanked President Ramnath Kovind for gracing the inaugural day of the Hornbill Festival 2017.
He expressed hope that the 10-day celebration of the Hornbill festival has given the opportunity for the tourists to peep into the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the sixteen naga tribes. Chief Minister T R Zeliang said the festival gained popularity despite the remoteness and lack of proper infrastructure. He said this has been possible due to the collective effort of all the stakeholders in making the festival a grand success.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Governor of Odisha S C Jamir, Governor of Arunachal Pradesh Brig (retd) B D Mishra, Manipur CM N Biren Singh, Arunachal CM Pema Khandu and Director General of Assam Rifles Lt Gen Shokin Chauhan were among the several dignitaries gracing the festival.