Anini, Arunachal Pradesh: A hidden gem in making of India's eco-tourism
Anini, Arunachal Pradesh: A hidden gem in making of India's eco-tourism

Arunachal Pradesh, India: The journey towards Anini, which is the headquarters of the Dibang Valley district in Arunachal Pradesh, is challenging due to the long and winding road that clings to mountains, dropping thousands of feet down into the valley.

Anini, a frontier outpost of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, has a population of only around 4,000 people, but it is gaining recognition as a tourist destination despite its poor connectivity. The town’s location and connectivity have been a significant challenge for its residents, and the lack of development had led to the perception that Anini was a harsh place to live or visit, despite its natural beauty.

However, things are changing, and the narrow road is being widened to facilitate easier travel, which has brought promising changes to the town’s eco-tourism potential. The Mipi and Acheso valleys, with their scenic locations along the Mathun and Dri rivers, are two areas where better roads are being developed. Adventure-related tourism is expected to see a significant boost with the development of better roads, which will benefit the Idu Mishmi community that relies mainly on farming and hunting for a living.

The Dibang Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is also a biodiversity hotspot, home to a range of wildlife, including exotic species such as the Himalayan Tigers, Red Panda, and Mishmi Takin. This sanctuary is a popular destination for visitors, and many homestays and tour agencies have emerged, promoting the region’s natural beauty.

However, there is a growing concern about the negative impact of tourism on Anini, which has become a hub for tourists in recent years. The community has established the Biodiversity in Tourism Development Society, Dibang Valley, to regulate guidelines for visitors and encourage responsible tourism that avoids overcrowding and pollution.

Anini lacks a district tourist officer (DTO) to manage the region’s tourism infrastructure, resulting in a lack of appropriate funding for the sector. Consequently, locals have taken matters into their own hands, building necessary infrastructure such as homestays and resorts themselves. The government’s lack of proper monitoring of subsidy schemes and loan plans is also affecting local entrepreneurs.

Despite these challenges, the local leadership is committed to improving infrastructure, education, health, electricity, and telecommunication. Anini is becoming an increasingly popular destination, but its rustic charm and age-old traditions still appeal to modern generations.