- Enumerate the reasons for focussing on rural tourism.
- What steps have been initiated by the government ?
Rural tourism is any form of tourism that showcases the rural life, art, culture, and heritage at rural locations, thereby benefiting the local community economically and socially. Numerous local traditions enhance the cultural wealth of rural areas, making these attractive for the tourists.
Need to focus on Rural Tourism:
- There is a huge potential to capture domestic and international tourists. Despite having a diverse culture and rich architectural heritage, India accounts only 2% share of the international tourism market. Also, owing to the trend of short-break holidays, proximity to rural areas allows them to act as great tourism destinations.
- The tourism industry generates both direct and indirect employment. Rural tourism has the potential to generate large-scale, multifaceted productive employment, ranging from highly skilled to semi-skilled jobs.
- It will boost the overall rural economy as rural tourism will augment both consumption as well as investment potential in the rural regions.
- Rural tourism can revive many of the traditional arts and crafts practiced by the rural communities that are dying a slow death.
- If the concept of rural tourism is well marketed, then people from developed countries would be drawn towards India, especially, millennials who are fascinated about traditions, culture and art.
Steps taken by government:
The Ministry of Tourism has designated rural tourism as one of the Niche Tourism sectors. The Ministry has developed a Draft National Strategy and Roadmap for Rural Tourism, which focuses on developing and promoting local products through tourism. It focuses on the following key pillars: (a) Model policies and best practices for rural tourism; (b) Digital technologies and platforms for rural tourism; (c) Developing clusters for rural tourism; (d) Marketing support for rural tourism; (e) Capacity building of stakeholders; (f) Governance and institutional framework. The Ministry of Tourism has designated the Rural Circuit as one of the fifteen thematic circuits for development under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
The Swadesh Darshan Scheme aims to develop theme-based tourist circuits on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner. Under the scheme, 15 themes have been identified.
Tourism in rural regions can be maintained if an inclusive planning strategy based on a multi-action, multi-stakeholder participatory approach is adopted and implemented. This will help in unleashing the true potential of rural regions and ensure adherence to the concept of Atithi Devo Bhava.