Community tourism in the village of Mopungchuket is affected | Morung Express
An aerial view of the village of Mopungchuket. (Photo courtesy: Mopungchuket on Facebook)
Mokokchung | September 12
Mopungchuket is perhaps the most visible rural tourism destination in Mokokchung district, located 16 kilometers from the district headquarters. Recognized as one of the cleanest villages in Nagaland, Mopungchuket is also famous for the legendary love story of Jina and Etiben, considered the “Romeo and Juliet” of the Ao Nagas.
The village has made headlines for its efforts to tackle plastic pollution and declare it a plastic-free village. Known for its unique living environment, picturesque landscapes, parks, exhibits of memorabilia and artifacts, and the warmth of its villagers, Mopungchuket receives thousands of visitors each year.
Tourism belongs to the community in this village. The Mopungchuket Community Tourism Company (MCTS) manages the tourist affairs of the village. MCTS, since its creation in 2001 has worked for the promotion of tourism in the village.
2020 was supposed to be the big year for MCTS. A new team of young people have taken over the reins, with new plans to improve the village’s tourism industry. The village of Mopungchuket recorded a total of nearly 8,000 visitors last year, including local, domestic and foreign tourists. They expected to increase visitor attendance to at least 10,000 this year.
Instead, what happened was a virus. And with it, the worst crisis the Mopungchuket tourism sector has ever faced.
“The lockdown following the global pandemic has completely wiped out MCTS plans. The village’s burgeoning tourism industry is now in dire financial straits. Our small savings from last year’s income are now exhausted and we are now struggling to manage the tourist sites in the village or pay the staff, ”said a MCTS member.
“We have employees and we also have individuals in the village who depend solely on tourism such as tourist guides and custodians of tourist sites in the village. Many households in the village depend directly and indirectly on rural tourism for their livelihood, ”said Limaleden Longkumer, facilitator, MCTS.
“With no source to pay employees and help affected households, we are now powerless and at a stalemate,” he added.
“Once the situation improves, we will have to start over.
We hope the government has recognized the plight of those working in the travel and tourism industry. We ask the government to formulate a recovery plan and to offer a recovery plan in particular for community players in the industry, ”added Limalenden.
Rural tourism in Nagaland is primarily community based and with the pandemic lockdowns have virtually crippled the sector.
Similar to Mopungchuket, rural tourism in the village of Longhkum is also at a dead end.
Chungatangzuk, director of the tourist lodge in Longkhum village, said that with no visitors he is now unemployed and hopes the government will address the problems faced by communities managing rural tourism.