Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT), WB in association with I.I.H.M. arranged for a Webinar on "Tourism and Rural Development". It was organized on the occasion of World Tourism Day, on the 27th of September 2020 and its theme was Tourism and Rural Development. The coordinator of the programme was Ms. Smita Ganguli of I.I.H.M.
An eminent speaker Mr. Nisheeth Srivastava, the Principal of Institute of Hotel Management (IHM), Taratala said that Rural Tourism must encourage us to feel the culture and life of rural India, its handicrafts, ways of living etc. Rural tourism gives opportunity to the villagers to sell their products. But the problem is that of lack of infrastructural facilities. The problem starts with the roads leading to the villages off the national highways. Drinking water is also not of good quality and tourists are vulnerable to water borne diseases. The governments and travel agencies should make a coordinated effort to solve all these problems. Rural tourism is not only a source of pleasure for the visitors but it also improves the economy and sustainability level of the villagers. Packaged tours must be organized to rural areas in addition to the well known places.
Mr. Rajan Sehgal, Chairman Skill and Education, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and President, India Golf Tourism Association said that travel and tourism industry will bounce back once the pandemic ends. Previous slowdowns in the industry were noted during wars, 9/11 and such other disasters. In India pilgrimage tourism, golf-course tourism, centering around rural areas are very important. These will help to increase the knowledge of geography and culture. However, infrastructure, safety, connectivity and hygiene are important for rural tourism. The ILO estimates that ‘accommodation and restaurants’, together with ‘private sector services’, will create jobs at the fastest rate among all sectors in the economy over the next five years.
Dr. Subarno Bose, Founder of Indismart Group, I.I.H.M. and IAM pointed out that 9 % of India's GDP and 8.5 % of employment comes from tourism. Two years back the Prime of India said in his Independence Day speech, that to understand actual 'Bharat' and not just urban India every tourist must visit at least 15 villages. In rural tourism we not only speak of established tourist points but rural untravelled places. We must put India in the right perspective by giving importance to rural tourism. Therefore, we need to be inclusive so that local poor people are benefited. More importance must be given to marketing, because at this point rural tourism lacks marketing and digital penetration. Very often people are scared to promote villages as tourist spots. But many people including international tourists want to visit rural India. We have to change the entire mindset, so that rural tourism does not take a back seat. According to UNWTO, tourism is a major source of employment because of its labour-intensive nature and the significant multiplier effect on employment in related sectors. It is estimated that one job in the core tourism sector creates about one-and-a-half additional or indirect jobs in the tourism-related economy. Overall tourism accounts for one in ten jobs worldwide.
Dr. Dilip Kumar Das, Associate Professor and HOD of Tourism Management, University of Burdwan discussed in details about rural tourism. There is a huge opportunity to capture the tourism market through rural tourism. The diversity of religions, customs and traditions in rural areas are more pronounced than in urban areas. The simple, friendly rural atmosphere is a source of attraction for the tourists. Rural tourism can increase education level, alleviate poverty, help to understand culture etc. To enable rural tourism the agenda should be:
Mr. Prasad Manjali, MD and CEO at Citrine Hotels and Resorts, Citrine Hospitality Ventures Pvt Ltd, Thiruvananthapuram shared his experiences on rural tourism. He spoke about a village near Trivandrum which thrives mostly on tourism. Even Kovalam Beach, the famous tourist spot is a rural area. Kerela is the capital of Ayurveda, which is developed from rural regions and is an attraction to the tourists. Some hotels recruit people and train them in local foods to give a real feeling of the place. A company called Blue Yonder focusses on presenting Kerela from the rural aspect and promotes ecotourism and rural cuisine. Keral would be one of the most successful spots to bounce back after the pandemic.
For more information about the MAKAUT, please visit:
Commenting only available for logged in users