As India is gearing itself towards promotion of more immersive tourism experiences that also involves communities, the ongoing G20 meetings are expected to provide the much needed impetus to the states showcasing the best of rural tourism initiatives.
One of the key focus areas at the first Tourism Working Group Meeting slotted in Feb at Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch will be rural tourism. According to the official sources, only the states of Madhya Pradesh and Kerala have been invited to present a session to showcase rural tourism models of the state before the delegates of Global 20 Countries.
The first Tourism Working Committee under G-20 will be held from February 7 to 10, 2023 in the Rann of Kutch, Gujarat.
The presentations will be made during an event to be held on February 7 by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and will have the theme, ‘Rural Tourism for Community Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation’.
Both the states Madhya Pradesh and Kerala have been leading the examples through various initiatives under their respective Responsible Tourism Mission. While MP Tourism Board under the auspices of this mission has initiated Rural Tourism Project and identified 100 villages for tourism development, Kerala Tourism, on the other hand, has bagged several awards on the global stage under its RT mission.
Speaking on the participation, Principal Secretary Tourism and Culture and Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board Sheo Shekhar Shukla said that it is a matter of great pleasure that Madhya Pradesh’s rural tourism will be exhibited in the G-20.
The guests during these presentations, will be informed about the initiatives of the responsible tourism mission like homestays, rural tourism, responsible souvenir project, safe tourist destination for women, solid liquid waste management project, project Humsafar and others.Currently, the Rural Tourism Programme is being implemented in 60 villages in the first phase and 40 in the second phase over three years, totalling 100 villages in all. Baghelkhand, Bundelkhand and Chambal in the north and northeast apart from their cultural specialities, also showcase the essence of village life. Besides, Malwa, Nimar and Mahakaushal in the west and south showcase the unique culture of their tribal and indigenous communities, MP Tourism shared.
Under this programme, MP Tourism is assisting the homestay owners with the exposure visits and need-based training on homestay operations, health and hygiene initiatives, among the others. Besides, Local youth are being trained in hospitality or tourism based businesses on their interests and requirements.
“Rural tourism has immense potential for economic development, social transformation and increasing community participation,” Shukla asserted while adding that the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department is working with the aim of making tourist places ‘better places to live and better places to visit’.
Rural tourism is a key segment supporting the agenda and goals of sustainability which is also one of the priority areas for India during its G20 presidency.
Apart from MP and Kerala, states like Goa, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, among the other few, have been pushing their respective agendas for rural tourism promotions through policies, incentives, hinterland developments, trainings and other kinds of handholding to engage with the local communities and support them through tourism.
The Tourism Working Group Meeting is the first of four meetings happening in Rann of Kutch followed by the other three tentatively scheduled in Siliguri (West Bengal), Srinagar and Goa.