Among north-east states, Manipur has attracted a lot of attention from the central government while designing infrastructure development schemes and funds due to its strategic and geographical location. This beautiful landlocked state, bounded by Nagaland to its north, Myanmar to its east and south, Mizoram to its south-west and Assam to its west, has been a disturbed state due to various insurgencies in this region. Lack of infrastructural growth and unemployment has marred the state’s development for decades. To overcome the challenges, along a strategic approach towards the development of the state is the need of the hour. Tourism is one such area which has the potential to drive economic growth along with job creation for the state. It has been neglected long because of rampant corruption and a hostile environment.

CUTS Institute of Regulation and Competition (CIRC) through its think tank Global Initiative for Sustainable Infrastructure (GISI) has undertaken a research assignment to test the feasibility of developing an integrated tourism hub at the Loktak Lake in Manipur through PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode. The proposed tourism hub will host independent and mutually beneficial facilities like exhibition halls, convention centres, banquet halls, auditoria, arena, financial centre, hotels, food & beverage (F&B) outlets & retail services. In the surrounding vicinity of the hub, other facilities such as the traditional market for handicrafts, local food joints, ethnic wear stores and other related cultural and traditional shops can be set up.

The project is envisioned to be developed through an optimum Public Private Partnership model with support of viable gap funding if required. The proposed centre can become a key facilitator in making Manipur a key destination in NER India under the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) destination category.

Exhibitions and conventions provide a strong stimulus to the domestic industries, including transportation, travel and tourism, catering and hospitality. The Convention and Exhibition industry has a multiplier effect of up to 2 to 6 times, depending upon the type of industry. Exhibitions result
in the generation of employment, not only directly, but also through the growth in allied industries as a result of the economic stimulus propagated through exhibitions and conventions.

Project Goals
The objective of the research is to assist the government of Manipur to establish an integrated tourism hub through PPPs which would create direct and indirect job creation for the people of Manipur through the following activities:

Defining the various contours of the project like pre-feasibility studies related to risk assessment, opportunity matrix for stakeholders, financial models etc.;

Market assessment for private party participation for such projects in the state;

Study various policies and regulations that inhibits private investments to the sector;

Gap analysis and assistance required from the state as well as central government;

Project Outcomes
-Improved understanding of the PPP mode of development for the tourism sector in the state;
-Help create economic opportunity thus job creation for the unemployed youth in the state;
-To promote local culture and tradition and thus boost the state tourism;
-To attract private investment to the sector and hence help in creating a positive environment for outside investors; and
-To help the government of Manipur to take better and informed decisions backed by research output.

Scope of Work
The scope of work for this project can be categorised into 5 categories:

-Identification and screening of the project location for the development of convention cum tourist centre;

-Sharing of the ideas and together building the concept around the proposed investment for the asset creation;

-Sensitizing the government officials for the need of such a project for tourism development vis-à-vis employment creation for the people of Manipur;

-Preparation of a comprehensive plan based on market assessment and impact assessment studies; and

Providing assistance to create a knowledge database on the sector and PPP mode of development for infrastructure.