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What are the opportunities for rural tourism in India?
India is a land of vivid cultural diversity. People in one corner of India know little about the culture, food habits, traditions, art, etc. of the other parts of the country. Even the foreign tourist wants to understand the culture and tradition of India in originality. Natural, historic and archeological places have its own importance but why people will come again and again to see that? In such a situation, the opportunities for rural tourism get widened. Rural tourism in India itself is very big, where one can have an overview of the culture and traditions of the place in its original form and to become a part of it. People automatically get attracted towards the local handicraft. Different geographical areas of India have some historical, archeological and natural heritage. And thus have opportunities to develop rural tourism and thereby economic developments. Rural Tourism in India has completed 10 years.
What are your experiences in this regard?
At present, India is has 172 tourist spots. During last 10 years, attraction towards rural tourism has definitely increased. Situation is far better in Gujarat and Kerela. I have seen Hodka in Kachchh, Gujarat. This is a tourist place located in Indo- Pakistan border area. Hodka with very good roads and best stay arrangements are available. Gujarat rural tourist places are also extensively advertised. It is a charm to visit culture there. Similar examples can be seen in Kerala. Pranpur in Chanderi district of Madhya Pradesh also has favourable condition of rural tourism. But not that much work has been done in Madhya Pradesh for rural tourism as was expected. Where facilities are made available, tourist are visiting.
What are problems of Rural Tourism?
The problems of rural tourism are similar to other tourist industry in India like lack of well transportation facility, poor hospitality arrangements and poor hygiene. Lots need to be done in this direction. We have made some efforts by training some rural youths and but we need to continuously work in this direction. We need to develop world class facilities for basic services. For example, though the cottage will be traditional in looks but it should have hygienic toilet, rooms and kitchen facility. Prime focus should be on maintenance of roads. Electricity supply should be uninterrupted. No compromise on safety measures; although no safety issues emerged till date, but it is important to attract tourists.
What can be done in this direction?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to improve rural tourism during his election campaigns. Gujrat demonstrates good model of rural tourism but such conditions need to be developed in other states as well. Central government, has once again, reaffirmed that tourist industries will be promoted. Government has to provide funds for the development of tourist places in rural areas. Such places need to be linked with large tourists circles, and then only tourist will be attracted towards rural tourism spots. Development of Rural tourism not only helps to protect our cultural and historical heritage but is also providing additional employment opportunities to rural youths.