Q. Why is this in News?
A. Rural Tourism and Rural Homestays (CNA – RT and RH) under the Ministry of Tourism has identified six niche experiences for tourists wanting to visit rural India, including agritourism, art and culture, ecotourism, wildlife, tribal tourism, and homestays.
- The Ministry of Tourism is also working on launching the State assessment and ranking criteria to help foster competition and reach the overarching objectives of promoting sustainable and responsible tourism.
Q. What are the Key Points of the Move?
- The push aims at sustainability, avoiding large-scale infrastructure development.
- It aims to rope in local resources and communities to provide a unique organic experience and bolster employment opportunities in villages.
- The Ministry of Tourism is in the process of formulating a budget, with certain training modules at district levels being 100% centrally financed, and other aspects being 60% Centre and 40% State financed.
- Village Clusters:
- Clusters of five to seven villages will be identified in close proximity.
- A cluster will offer more tourist attractions than rural tourism projects of individual villages separated by long distances.
- It can also aid in the marketing of local products of a group of villages through craft bazaars.
Q. What is the Concept of Rural Tourism?
- Rural tourism in India is a form of tourism that focuses on exploring and experiencing the rural lifestyle and culture.
- It involves traveling to rural areas and participating in various activities such as farming, handicrafts, and village walks, to gain a deeper understanding of the local culture and way of life.
- For instance, Tamil Nadu’s Kolukkumalai is the highest tea plantation in the world; Kerala’s Dewalokam is a yoga centre on the banks of a river; Nagaland’s Konyak Tea retreat takes visitors on a trip through tribal culture etc.
- India's rural tourism potential lies in its diverse and vibrant culture, handicrafts, folk arts, festivals, and fairs.
- U.S.-based market research firm Grand View Research estimates that agritourism alone will develop at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.4% from 2022 to 2030.
- Not only can rural tourism revitalize local art and crafts and prevent viable traditional occupations from being displaced, it will also help redevelop rural areas and rejuvenate rural life, create jobs and new business opportunities.
- Reduce out-migration, Increase alternative business opportunities
- Increase entrepreneurial scopes
- Helps in poverty alleviation.
- Community empowerment
- Art and Crafts sale
- Heritage Preservation
Q. What are the Challenges for Rural Tourism in India?
- Lack of Infrastructure:
- Rural areas often lack basic amenities such as good roads, electricity, and healthcare facilities, which can deter tourists from visiting.
- Inadequate infrastructure can also make it difficult for local communities to provide quality services to visitors.
- Limited Awareness:
- Lack of awareness about rural tourism among tourists and local communities can hinder its growth.
- Many people are unaware of the potential of rural areas as tourist destinations and the benefits that tourism can bring to local communities.
- Low Income and Unemployment:
- Rural areas often suffer from low-income levels and high unemployment rates.
- This can make it difficult for local communities to invest in tourism infrastructure and provide quality services to visitors.
- Threat to Ecology:
- Rural tourism has the potential to have a negative impact on the environment and local communities if not managed properly.
- Overcrowding, pollution, and destruction of natural habitats can harm the local ecology and culture, which can deter visitors in the long run.
- Safety Concerns:
- Rural areas can be perceived as unsafe by tourists due to a lack of proper security arrangements, which can make it difficult for them to enjoy their experience and create a negative image of the destination.