KOHIMA, Dec 11: More than 1.54 lakh people, including foreigners and domestic tourists, visited the picturesque Naga heritage village Kisama, where the Hornbill festival was held, this year.
The 10-day gala event, which began on December 1, is an annual tourism promotion programme of the Nagaland government and has been considered as the festival of festivals.
The festival witnessed a footfall of 1,54,057 visitors, an increase of 13,758 from the previous year, the state tourism department said.
The total includes 1,14,860 locals, 37,089 domestic tourists and 2,108 foreigners, it said.
The number of foreign visitors increased by around 100 per cent – from 1,026 in 2022 to 2,108 this year.
The data also showed that there was a sharp decline of domestic tourists by over 11,000 as the number was at 48,413 in the previous year.
The highest footfall at 23,583 was recorded on Sunday, the last day of the festival, while the second biggest turnout was 18,002 on December 3, the tourism department said.
The festival has been showcasing Nagaland’s deep-rooted traditions and its rich cultural heritage in all its ethnicity, diversity and grandeur, an official said.
Tourists praised the state government in visitors’ dairy at various locations within the vicinity of Kisama, some 12 kilometres from the state capital Kohima.
On the concluding day, honoured guest, United States Consul General, Melinda Pavek, expressed her happiness to be part of the Hornbill Festival which also marks the 75th anniversary of one of the world’s most groundbreaking global pledges-the universal declaration of human rights which enshrined the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being.
Another honoured guest, British deputy high commissioner, Dr Andrew Fleming speaking at the closing ceremony said that it was wonderful to be here at the Hornbill Festival. He said that the UK is very keen to engage more deeply with Nagaland not just culturally but in different sectors including horticulture, healthcare, skills training and education. He acknowledged the huge potential that Nagaland has in tourism. He concluded by congratulating the government of Nagaland for successfully organising the 24th edition of the Hornbill Festival at such a grand scale.
All the tribes of Nagaland take part in the festival, named after the hornbill bird which is present in their folklore. People enjoyed Naga food, songs, dances and customs during the festival. (PTI)