(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Rural Fairs & Festivals

(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Rural Fairs & Festivals


Rural Fairs & Festivals


  • UNWTO World Tourism Barometer 2024 states that international tourism recovered 88% of pre-pandemic levels. It is expected to fully recover by the end of 2024. India tourism statistics 2023 mentions that bulk tourism activity in India came from domestic tourism with 1731.01 million domestic tourist visits in 2022, foreign tourist visits stood at 8.59 million. Tourism sector is one of the big sources of foreign exchange earnings. 

  • Importance of tourism, particularly in rural and backward areas as an instrument for economic development and employment generation, has been well recognised. Fairs and festivals can be utilized both to attract more visitors and to convince them to stay for greater duration, because benefits of tourism get enhanced either by increasing the number of tourists or by increasing the duration of stay of tourists.

Importance of Fairs and Festivals

In India, traditional fairs and festivals are connected with harvests, changing seasons, religious beliefs, local customs, etc. Apart from this, many fairs and festivals have been introduced by various stakeholders including government tourism departments, usually aimed at enhancing tourist footfall. An attempt has been made to focus more upon the significance of fairs and festivals from a tourism perspective.

  • Economic importance: Pro-poor approach to tourism management talks about enhancing linkage between tourism businesses and poor people so that tourism’s contribution to poverty reduction is increased and poor people are able to participate more effectively in product development. Celebrations during festivals in India create livelihood opportunities for many artisans.

  • Socio-cultural importance: Traditional Indian festivals have socio-religious context. Religious festivals have some norms performed according to the tenets of religion, but they also offer an opportunity to encourage social bonding across religions. Familial bonds have come under stress due to effects of globalisation and westernisation; festivals provide a platform for maintaining them.

  • MICE and Roots tourism through festival: ‘MICE’ includes all forms of tourism that are related to work/ profession/business, i.e. when people are not primarily motivated by recreational pursuits but travel because of their work. Acronym MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions/Events) covers four core market areas. In tourism industry, destination weddings are treated under ‘events’ of MICE. Marriages are nothing less than festivals in India, more so with increase in aspirational class of India which is driving ‘premiumisation’. 

  • Adventure and rural tourism through festival: To overcome ‘seasonality’ in tourism i.e. fluctuation in tourism demand, to promote India as a 365 days’ destination and to attract tourists with specific interest, ‘adventure’ has been identified as a niche product for promotion and development. Adventure tourism is a type of niche tourism where travel involves some degree of risk (real or perceived) and may require special skills, and physical effort. It can be any tourism activity that includes physical activity, cultural exchange, and connection with nature.

  • Reinvigorating heritage through festivals: Heritage is legacy from previous generations. Heritage tourism, sometimes called historical tourism, particularly focuses on cultural heritage. It fulfils travellers’ interest in historical attractions such as monuments and sites of important past events, as well as in traditions. Nostalgia for this heritage is a motivation for many tourists. UNESCO World Heritage Convention talks about cultural and natural heritage. There are 42 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. 

  • Facilitating rural produce through festivals: Farm produce and associated activities can be rural tourism attractions. U.P. produces a large variety of mangoes. Awadh mango growers association conceptualised and organised first UP Mango Festival in 2013. Wine tourism is identified as a growing area of special interest tourism throughout world. Maharashtra is capitalising on vineyard tourism. 

  • Floriculture and tourism through festival: According to Srinagar district’s website, Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden is the largest tulip garden in Asia, situated on foothills of Zabarwan range with an overview of Dal Lake. Garden was opened in 2007 to boost floriculture and tourism in Kashmir valley. Tulip festival (organized during the onset of spring season) is an annual celebration that aims to showcase the range of flowers in the garden as a part of tourism efforts.

  • Wellness and sports tourism through festivals: Wellness tourism is travel associated with objective of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal well-being. International Yoga Festival (IYF), held every year in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, was started as a small festival in 1999, which is now a sought-after international tourist attraction. ‘Yoga’ is an intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO. IYF celebrations usually involves ‘Vedic Chanting’ which is again an intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO. Physical fitness through sports as a medium is a popular means for attaining well-being. 


  • Festivals improve the lives of communities by bringing prosperity to the economy; they contribute to overall well-being and social harmony. Fairs and festivals are tourism products that create opportunities for tourists to spend time together, connect with an area, and experience the diversity of cultures. If managed well, they create a positive image of the place by attracting visitors, thereby aiding in destination promotion.



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Courtesy: Kurukshetra