(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Rural Tourism: India an Incredible Tourism Destination
Rural Tourism: India an Incredible Tourism Destination
- The rural landscape in India offers myriad potential of being transformed into a tourism product that can attract both domestic as well as international visitors. In order to develop a village as a tourist destination, first step should be to identify the key strength of the village around which the theme of rural tourism can be developed. Key factors which drive growth of tourism; namely, location, proximity to prominent tourist destinations, implementation and maintenance of hardware and software components must be considered.
1. The Advocacy Platform: International mass tourism began to increase rapidly from the
early 1960s. At this time, tourism was seen primarily as an economic phenomenon, an expanding international business that as an important source of income and employment had the potential to generate economic growth in destination areas. Little concern was shown for the possible impacts of tourism development and, as a result, the study of travel and tourism was focused principally on the economic impacts of tourism, including indicators such as the multiplier effect.
2. The Adaptancy Platform: During the 1980s, as attention continued to focus on the negative impacts of mass tourism, and as a result a principal theme to emerge in the study of travel and tourism was that of Alternative Tourism, preparing the way for the emergence of the topic- Sustainable Tourism. Alternative tourism was concerned with finding, literally, alternatives to mass tourism development that had been so roundly criticised from the 1970s onwards, although, according to some, this represented a somewhat idealistic period in the study of travel and tourism.
- Tourism Infrastructure Development-3 ‘A’ Approach: There can be no tourism without a destination. For a destination to develop and sustain itself, the following ‘A’s (see boxes below) are fundamentally important. These three A’s have to be present in sync for any form of tourism to thrive, including rural tourism. An attempt has been made to co¬
- relate the ‘A’s with Rural Tourism.
- ‘Attraction- refers to those features that pull or attract tourists to a destination. There is no easy way to enumerate or analyse attraction that a place offers.
In order to simplify, rural resources/attractions can be sub-divided into three categories:
1. Resources by virtue of geographical and climatic characteristics of the region, flora and fauna, rivers, landscape, scenic beauty, etc.
2. Aspects of the rural culture like village folklore, handicrafts, textile products, social bonds, etc.
3. Farm produce and practices like sowing harvesting, etc.
- Water Transport Infrastructure Initiatives: India is a land of rivers. It has a coastline of 7500 km; it has more than 15,000 km of navigable waterways. Under the Sagarmala Project (launched in 2015, active as of now, undertaken by the Ministry of Shipping), high quality roads will be constructed in the coastal areas, areas adjoining ports, ensuring development of coastal economic zones, inland waterways.
- Air Transport Infrastructure Initiatives: Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) was launched as a Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) under the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 2016, with the objective to develop the regional aviation market and to provide affordable, economically viable and profitable air travel on regional routes to the common man even in small towns. The scheme envisages providing connectivity to unserved and underserved airports of the country through the revival of existing air-strips and airports. The scheme is operational for a period of 10 years.
- Multi-modal Connectivity: Gati Shakti - National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity was launched in October 2021. Gati Shakti is a national master plan aimed at the coordinated planning and execution of infrastructure projects in India to reduce logistics costs. Gati Shakti is a digital platform that will bring 16 ministries and departments of the Government of India together.
- ‘Accommodation- includes boarding and lodging facilities for tourists to stay at the destination.
- The rural landscape in India offers myriad potential of being transformed into a tourism product that can attract both domestic as well as international visitors. An Evaluation cum Impact Study of Rural Tourism Projects of Ministry of Tourism, conducted by AC Nielsen ORG-MARG cited the low tourist flow to project areas and difficult access as the key factors for the failure of almost 31 percent of the projects evaluated. Out of the total 107 projects, 41 projects have been successful, 33 projects have performed averagely and the rest 33 projects have been unsuccessful in attaining the objectives, as per the findings of the report. Accessibility initiatives have been enumerated above from a macro point of view.