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Rural Sustainable Tourism

1. World Tourism Organization defines Rural Sustainable Tourism as “tourism which leads to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support system”.

2. It is the one which can reinvigorate the conventional concepts and views on tourism and can bring a new dimension to the sustainable development concept.

How the tourism Industry is beneficial?

1. India gives a unique experience to tourists due to its glorious past, varied cultural heritage, abundant landscapes, and natural beauty.

2. Tourism contributes 6.3% to the national GDP and 8.3% to the total employment in India.

Which are the issues faced by rural tourism in India?

1. India has about 7 million villages and around 69% of the population lives in rural India (Census 2011).

2. But tourism in rural India faces issues like lack of infrastructure and poor skill training of rural youth.

3. Language issues.

4. Poor connectivity from nearest towns.

5. Intensive tourism activities have a negative impact on the environmental quality of the ecosystems.

6. Tourist destinations could be threatened by external environmental shocks like global warming and sea-level rise.

Which are the steps taken to develop rural tourism?

1. Promotion of organizing fairs, festivals, and tourism-related events.

2. Encouragement to rural people to learn hospitality trades of food service, housekeeping, etc.

3. Improvement of infrastructure and environment under a committee formed by District Collector.

What needs to be done to boost rural tourism?

1. Rural tourism destinations should be specific and near to places people usually visit.

2. Accessibility to destinations should be the first criteria for selection of destination to be developed.

3. Advertising the destination will help artisans in selling their products better.

4. Proper marketing of the project.

5. Huge infrastructural and resources for tourism like water consumption, waste generation, and energy use need to be properly managed.

6. State governments have to play a proactive role to provide models for villagers.

7. Legislative backing to ensure the development and ecological goals are met.

8. Sustainable rural tourism needs to be promoted as it is cost effective and very attractive. It requires-

a) Preservation of traditional culture.

b) Involving local communities in eco-tourism.

c) Community development and involvement.

d) Promotion of non-intrusive tourism.

9. It should be seen as a poverty reduction strategy as envisaged in the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.