The announcement came days after the chief minister and other officials intimated that the event might be held if the Covid-19 situation remained stable.
Festival of festivals
The 10-day Hornbill Festival dubbed the “Festival of Festivals,” takes place every year from December 1 to 10 and has grown in popularity as a tourist destination over the years.
H Khehovi Yepthomi, Advisor for Tourism, Art, and Culture, revealed the festival’s decision at a Tourism Department-led coordination meeting with tribal hours held at the Directorate’s conference hall in Kohima.
However, according to Yepthomi, the number of days to be celebrated has yet to be determined.
‘Right from 2000 to 2019, the festival was successful and had gained global recognition. This is because of the cooperation from all the tribes and citizens of the state,’ he said.
According to the department’s records, more than three lakh tourists visited the Hornbill Festival in 2019.
International Tourism Mart (ITM)
Nagaland will also host the 9th edition of the International Tourism Mart (ITM) from November 28 to 30, in addition to the Hornbill Festival, according to the advisor.
The Northeast is promoted through the ITM, which is organized by the Ministry of Tourism. The north-eastern states host it on a rotating basis, with Nagaland hosting it for the first time in Kisama as the major site.
The event is projected to attract 500 people from all over the world, including India.
In this regard, the counselor asked the hours to make the necessary provisions “immediately” by working with the department. ‘Time is running out and maintenance work of the mornings has to be started as some need major renovation,’ he said while urging all 17 tribes in the state to get their mornings in order by November 15.
Poor conditions of mornings
Yepthomi, who recently visited the Heritage village, noted that the majority of mornings were in poor condition.
Only Angami, Ao, and Lotha were in decent shape among the 17 (tribes) mornings, according to reports, while the rest were in a horrible state, with some on the verge of collapsing.
He urged all of the tribe hours to keep their mornings open all year, not just during the festival. Tourists come to the area at any time of year, and seeing the mornings would be embarrassing for everyone, he continued.
He urged the tribal hours to get their elected leaders “involved” in the planning, noting that the Hornbill Festival is for everyone, not just tourism or art and culture.
According to him, the department will increase the amount (fund) given to the hours for maintaining the mornings this year.
The advisor also advised the tribe hours to finish their vaccinations if they hadn’t already. ‘Tribes participants, especially those coming from the villages, must be vaccinated. The vaccine has nothing to do with religion or politics; it is for one’s safety,’ he said.
He went on to clarify that the Hornbill Festival is held to maintain good ties and strengthen unity among the state’s tribes, not to celebrate.
T Yanpvuthung Kikon, Joint Secretary of Tourism, stated that Nagaland is an ideal location for tourism, which is a lucrative business; nevertheless, the state is just getting started and needs to take a step ahead.
‘In Nagaland, there is no continuity in celebrations as people tend to completely stop everything after any festival or celebration. However, there has to be continuity,’ he said while suggesting the tribal hours celebrate their respective festivals at Kisama.
‘We are unable to create assets, which is why our youngsters are all working in the hospitality industry outside,’ he said.
More information on the ITM was provided by Veyielo Doula, Joint Director of Tourism, who stated that 300 of the 500 expected delegates will be from outside the country.
He also mentioned that guests would come on November 28 and that all of the mornings would need to be “lit up” by that time.
In 2018, the public generated INR 45 crore in money and 500 employment, according to a poll conducted by the department during the previous two editions of the Hornbill Festival.
The revenue generated the next year was INR 101 crore, with 800 jobs created. At the conference, the 17 tribe hours also expressed their opinions.