Sign in Miao, Arunachal Pradesh, February 2008: Nicholas Farrelly

Writing slogans for a tourism campaign is not, I imagine, ever an easy task. In Arunachal Pradesh the government has long used “Arunachal Pradesh: Gateway to Serenity” as its core message. Apparently there is a controversial history behind it.

Slogans aside – for better or for worse the tourist industry has never really taken off in the state. Of course, travel to all parts of Arunachal Pradesh is still subject to relatively strict permit regulations that are designed to control the movement of all non-Arunachalis. This means that many casual visitors, particularly domestic tourists, are discouraged from jumping through the necessary bureaucratic hoops. From time-to-time, one does hear murmurs that the permit system will be abolished in the medium-term.

It is an issue on which there will probably remain starkly divided feelings for years to come.