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Sansad TV: Committee Report- Tourism in India

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Development of tourism infrastructure:

  • The Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) scheme was launched by the central government in 2015 to provide a complete religious tourism experience through planned development of identified pilgrimage and heritage destinations.
  • The Committee recommended:
    • engaging the private sector in providing tourism infrastructure under the SDS and PRASHAD schemes to make them commercially viable
    • augmenting hotel room capacity by constructing budget hotels on the surplus land at railway stations
    • providing financial support to meet funding gaps for development of tourism infrastructure.

Tourism- main pillar of India’s economy:

Reasons why rural tourism need to be promoted:

  • Seeing the stressful urban lifestyles leading towards “counter-urbanization” syndrome
  • Growing curiosity of urban people regarding rural culture and heritages
  • Changing attitude in Indian and global tourists behaviour in terms of nature awareness and increasing demand for niche tourism and green products. So it is evident that the future of Rural Tourism in India is going to be very promising one.

Maintaining the sustainable livelihood:

  • It has a great impact in case of maintaining the sustainable livelihood of the rural population, promoting local culture and heritages, empowering local women, alleviating poverty, conserving and preserving natural resources, improving basic rural infrastructure, adopting new work culture and overall developing a better impression of locality and its people in tourists’ mind.

Reduces migration:

  • Tourism facilitates the declining areas to be developed with basic infrastructure facilities and provides the host community alternative ways of employment and side by side it reduces out-migration.
  • It fosters a closer relationship between city dwellers and rural communities.

Alternative Way of Earning:

  • Tourism can be a potential tool to reduce over-dependency on cultivation especially in rural areas and it contributes to the overall economic development of an area that would otherwise be deprived.

Employment:

  • Tourism creates a large number of semi-skilled jobsfor the local population in not only local hotels and catering trades but also in other fields like transport, retailing, heritage interpretation etc.
  • Moreover, it ensures revival of traditional arts, crafts, building art etc. and brings marketing opportunity for rural producers to sell their products directly to the tourists.
  • It allows alternative sources of earning opportunities from non-agricultural sectors that improve living standards of the rural dwellers to some extent.

Poverty Alleviation:

  • Rural Tourism is being admired all over the world because such form of tourism can shape up rural society both by economic and social terms.
  • It brings both monetary and social benefits to the rural people.
  • It alleviates poverty by creating alternative sources of earning.

Empowerment of Localities

  • Tourism cannot be flourished without the involvement of local people in it.
  • Accommodation facilities are being provided by local hotel owners whereas local suppliers supply food and beverages to the local hotels.

Entrepreneurial scope:

  • Tourism has increased career options for the young entrepreneurs.

Arts and Crafts Sale:

  • Arts and crafts are the evidence of local culture and heritages of a community belonging from any region or any nation. The urban tourists, wherever they go, generally prefer to have a collection of local arts and crafts to make their trip-experience a remembering one.

Environmental Improvement:

  • Environmental improvements such as village paving and traffic regulation schemes, sewage and litter disposal can be assisted by tourism revenues and political pressures from tourism authorities.

Source of Foreign Exchange Earnings:

  • Tourism is an important source of foreign exchange earnings in India. This has favourable impact on the balance of payment of the country.

Air connectivity:

  • The Regional Connectivity Scheme was launched by the central government in 2016 to enhance regional air connectivity.
  • The Committee recommended operationalising the remaining routes under this scheme to meet emerging tourist demand in less connected regions.
  • The Committee observed that due to poor air connectivity, India’s share in international tourist arrivals is a mere 1.2%. It recommended ensuring proper air connectivity to iconic tourist sites identified by the Ministry of Tourism.
  • This can be achieved by:
    • converting domestic airports to international airports on priority basis for sites with domestic airports only
    • developing new airports for sites without direct air connectivity.

Land connectivity:

  • The Committee recommended:
    • introducing more semi-high speed trains on the routes where maximum tourists travel
    • ensuring intra-state rail connectivity
    • developing roadside amenities like cafeterias along highways and expressways for long distance travellers.

Adventure tourism:

  • The Committee noted that the annual growth rate of inbound adventure tourism in India is 5-7% and that of domestic adventure tourism is 20-25%.
  • It recommended promoting India as an adventure tourism destination and promoting amusement parks in coordination with states and union territories.

Conclusion

  • If the goal of positioning of India as one of the world’s best tourism destinations by 2047, there is need to integrate various schemes of different ministries.
  • Need to involve various stakeholders, and local communities; necessary interventions at urban and rural level should be a priority.