Rural Tourism in India is now one of the niche tourism products which holds good potential to attract upmarket clients who would like to runaway from hustle bustle of concrete city life and be in rural environment seeking mental peace. Rural home stays are designed to attract tourists who desire to learn more about the varied life styles and crafts of our many villages. This also creates jobs in villages and thus it brings a halt on the exodus from villages to major cities. This facilitates local talents service in tourism sector as stake holders. Rural Tourism thus fulfils Govt’s. objective of diversification of tourism products & create local employment in distant villages. It works out very well for our country and especially boost tourism industry.
In this respect the initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India holds lot of merit. Purely on its merit Indian Travel Industry too have supported the project in a big way. In the Visit India Year 2009, the rural tourism circuits have been focused. All inbound visitors at their request are being offered a complimentary home stay upto one night and two days including breakfast, transportation and local sightseeing as a value addition to their India itineraries. IATO members who are attending road shows in various overseas countries are giving wide publicity to these Rural Tourism experience special for Visit India Year 2009. Rural Holiday circuits which are now being focused are Hodka, Kachchh District, Gujarat, Kumbalanghi, Ernakulam District, Kerala, Aranmula, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala Karaikudi (Chettinad), Sivaganga District, Tamil Nadu Pochampalli, Nalgonda District, Andhra Pradesh, Banawasi, Uttar Kannada District, Karnataka, Pranpur, Ashok Nagar District, Madhya Pradesh, Naggar, Kullu District, Himachal Pradesh and detail on these circuits are available on Rural tourism website- www.exploreruralindia.org. The Rural Tourism centers which are around main cities with better connectivity are promoted actively India can do better if standards of accommodation provided at rural tourism centers can meet the expectations of comfort needed by international tourists. In this respect, lot of emphasis is being given by Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India while financing the schemes. Some of the centers have really come up very well like Raghurajpur in Orissa , Lachen in North District Sikkim , Samode (Jaipur), Aranmula(Kerala), Pranpur (Madhya Pradesh) to name a few centres which are ready to accept international tourists.
However the success of Rural tourism will depend on projects if they are located not more than two to three hours drive from airport or railheads. They should not also be closer to main cities then charm of Rural environment will be lost.
Also the location should have an inherent strength due to its natural features, unique arts & crafts, fair & festivals, cuisine which is unique to the place & that need to be focused & promoted to boost Rural Tourism prospect to the center.
For success of rural tourism, there should be regular capacity building progammes so that local people can be real stake holders. Local be trained for creating local flavour. They should be trained to create souvenirs, promoting local dance, costumes and food which are based on local agricultural products. Locals interest be given prime consideration & not commercialization of the rural tourism product.
Rural Tourism projects should not give urbanized look with modern furniture, classy glass framed outside look, heavy glass topped centre table, chandeliers etc. These projects should match the rural environment & should not be based on imported goods from major cities. Use of local materials & less use of material concrete. There should be greenery for landscaping & local plants be used. Publicity should be based on reality & not over glamorized. Eco friendly aspect to be focused for setting up rural projects. These are key areas for consideration to make rural tourism experience authentic.
The objective should be to create a sustainable level of visitor numbers and revenue without sacrificing traditional community assets. Essentially whole efforts should be to promote a form of tourism that meets four essential criteria namely.
Environment conservation including waste management.
India’s geographical spread and cultural diversity provide multiple interest all season visitor experiences. This creates a major tourism opportunity to position the Indian rural tourism product as a unique visitor experience in low impact settings. The visitors come nearer to India ’s rural heritage as they vibe with the present. Rural tourism connects the visitor from the frenetic present with traditional assets of communities whose domain lies off the beaten track. It gives due weightage to women in civil society, the primacy of human developments & preservation of heritage. Rural Tourism puts special packages in art & craft imparted by skilled local/ artisans, village entertainment group unveil local history & culture, natural and oral treasurers. Thus it ensures governments developmental plan for economic & social development on environmental sustainability through rural tourism projects.
Ministry of Tourism has added another 103 new rural tourism centres for development in its gamut of product development due to its sustainable prospects & environment. Rural tourism is going to be India ’s niche special interest demand segments that holds resilent power. Join India ’s Rural Tourism experience.