Celebrating World Tourism Day virtually this year, Ministry of
Tourism (MOT) highlighted the importance of domestic tourism,
with the Tourism Minister even dedicating year 2021 to it.
On World Tourism Day, Ministry of Tourism organised a virtual show where it launched that was inaugurated by chief guest Dharmendra Pradhan, Cabinet Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel. Through the virtual show, emphasis was laid on domestic as well as rural tourism as drivers for the recovery and growth of the tourism sector in India in a post-pandemic world.
Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State (I/C), Tourism & Culture, welcoming the chief guest, also stressed on the importance of domestic tourism. “In 2021, we should focus on domestic tourism and follow the Dekho Apna Desh campaign. The Prime Minister talked about it one year ago, saying that every citizen should visit 15 places in the country by 2022. However, times are such that in 2021 people will only travel within India. This campaign could be helpful for us. Year 2021 should be the ‘Dekho Apna Desh Year’ and we should be promoting it in full force,” he said. The Minister also urged Pradhan to help propagate the campaign by promoting it across petrol pumps, which see regular footfall of people across the country. He also thanked all the stakeholders for their support and fighting through the pandemic.
Putting focus on rural tourism, Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary, Tourism, said, “This year’s global theme of rural tourism laid out by UNWTO is in the right context and has come at the right time. We all know that rural communities are custodians of indigenous natural and cultural heritage, having an inherent ability to coexist with the natural ecosystem. It is important, especially at this juncture in human history, that we leverage this to develop and promote sustainable tourism models. Urban agglomeration also needs reorientation in this context. In a country as diverse as India, where a significant number of people are deeply rooted to the villages, it is both an opportunity as well as a necessity that tourism develops itself and in turn develops the rural communities. Every part of the country has different cultural, musical, dance and cuisine-related diversity, which offers variety and opportunity for promoting and activating rural tourism in the country. In fact, this is completely unmatched globally. We need to work towards it and on ensuring that the potential of rural tourism in the country gets exploited.”
“As part of Swadesh Darshan scheme, the rural tourism circuit is also one of the themes we have taken up for the purpose of development. In fact, as part of ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ promotions for domestic tourism, we have looked at rural tourism prospects and development opportunities. I also express my gratitude to the Ministry of Rural Development for having looked at its potential. I am sure that with concerted efforts of the government and concerted interest taken by all stakeholders, rural tourism is going to grow, offering alternative employment opportunities in rural areas at a much larger scale. Hence, we need to be responsible and build in the required safeguards,” he concluded.