Tourism for Community Development
World Tourism Day – 2014
The stage is set for celebration of World Tourism Day (WTD) on 27 September 2014. This is the day the entire world celebrates and highlights tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic importance for people at large.
WTD 2014 is being held with the theme ‘Tourism and Community Development’ focusing on the ability of tourism to empower people and provide them with skills to achieve change in their local communities.
The theme definitely underscores the potential of tourism to promote opportunities for communities around the world, as well as the role that community engagement has in advancing sustainable tourism development that obviously promotes livelihood.
Perhaps India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi understands this better as in his historic speech from Red Fort on India’s Independence Day on August 15 acknowledged the potential role that can be played by tourism activities in generating income and alleviating poverty at the local level in India.
Mr. Modi has exactly mentioned the grass root level linkage of tourism sector that needs to be harnessed for a sustainable tourism development strategy in the country. His words that captured implications of tourism development for a tea stall owner, petty service providers and the similar ones are the most crucial ones. A sustainable roadmap of tourism sector is always envisaged in the form that generates income and employment for local community thereby enhancing local economy. The strong multiplier effect of tourism automatically starts turning the unturned stones of development once these activities are started at the local level.
The destination management should be in such manner that the tourists and local communality confirm to the discipline, so that over a time the scenario changes towards a more disciplined tourism sector in the country.
Large numbers of countries in the world are examples of creating such environment over time. The major role played was by governance than anything else. Hope the Prime Minister’s views to connect the grass root level to tourism activities will be translated into some changes in policy making of the authorities who are at the helm of decision making at central, state as well as local level.
Tourism is undoubtedly a booming industry in India. Especially, since early years of the previous decade, India has become a better known destination to international tourists.
Even number of domestic tourists has also increased significantly. Government statistics suggest that foreign exchange earnings have increased significantly, number of hotels have gone up tremendously, number of countries form where we receive inbound tourists also have increased promisingly.
Along with these statistics, macro level studies suggest that there is large scale positive impact of tourism in terms of income and employment generation in the country.
However one of the shortcomings the country is experiencing is problem with associating tourism activities with local level development.
From sustainable tourism development point of view, it is of utmost importance that the link between local economic development and tourism is established while conserving local environment, both physical and cultural.
Time has come to study correlation between tourism’s direct and indirect impact on local level development. This needs to be done with village level, town level, and block level information rather than with all India figures or state level figures, as the Prime Minister of India linked in his Independence Day speech linking tourism promotion with generating income and alleviating poverty at the local level in India.
Hope Honorable Prime Minister’s vision will soon be translated into action and Tourism will come to play a pivotal role in livelihood generation. Potential of the segment is well recognized. Only we have to physically experience the same with positive approach and implementation.
Happy World Tourism Day – 2014