Kurukshetra April 2019 : a Journal on Rural Development (Part-2) (Download PDF)


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Thenmala Ecotourism: India’s first planned ecotourism destination. Major activities & zones in this scenic spot situated 72 kms away from Trivandrum are a) Adventure zone, b) Boating c) Butterfly safari, d) children’s park, e) Deer Rehabilitation Centre, f) Leisure zone g) Musical dancing fountain, & h) Nakshatravanum.

  • Latest contribution by Thenmala Ecotourism Society (TEPS) is barrier free access for hearing & visually challenged visiting this pioneer ecotourism destination in country lunched in march 2019.0.

Increasing Interest in Rural Tourism

  • Rural Tourism has certain typical characteristics like it is experience oriented locations are sparsely populated, it is pre- dominantly in natural environment, it meshes w/essentiality & local events & is based on preservation of culture, heritage & tradition.

Major Types of Rural Tourism (RT) in India

  • Agricultural Tourism
  • Cultural Tourism
  • Nature Tourism
  • Adventure Tourism
  • Food Routes
  • Community Eco tourism
  • Ethno Tourism

Increasing Interest in Rural Tourism (RT)

  • RT helps to garner knowledge on agriculture, farming, local governance etc.
  • RT helps to remove myths about rural lifestyle that may exist in urban minds, like villages are unhygienic rural life is unsafe etc.
  • RT will help a person to explore vast diversity that breathe in interiors of India.

Some popular Rural Tourism Destinations

  • Kutch Adventures IndiaItmennan Lodges Punjabiyat
  • §Ecosphere Spirit
  1. Visits to Buddhist monasteries yak safaris, treks to villages, village homestays & cultural performances are some of possible activities.
  • Lachen, Sikkim
  1. Located at 8500 feet against backdrop of snow capped peaks, glaciers & rock cliffs, amidst mixed conifer & Rhododendron forests.
  • Ballabhpur Danga, West Bengal
  1. Santhal Adivasi tribal community in pastoral beauty of rural Bengal. Sonajhuri forest lies to east & Ballarpur Avayaranya forest area & bird sanctuary is to its south
  • Sunderbans Village Life
  • Majuli in Assam
  • Pochampally, Telangana

Rural Tourism (RT) & Rural Women

  • RT presents both opportunities & challenges for women, which makes gender equality perspective highly relevant.
  • Work in RT sectors of destination area is concentrated particularly in retailing accommodation & catering, selling entertainment & transportation provisions.
  • Draft tourism policy 1997 sees emergence of tourism as an important instrument for sustainable human development including poverty alleviation, employment generation, environment regeneration & advancement of women & other disadvantaged groups in India.
  • Tourism sector definitely provides various entry points for women’s employment & opportunities in small & medium sized income generating activities for creating self employment.
  1. RT can create long term employment & provides skilled unskilled training & career development opportunities for women.
  2. RT will boost women’s empowerment & provides young/agriculturist livelihood diversification. RT has potential of establishing medium & small enterprises started by women entrepreneurs.
  3. RT will promote local production, education, art & architecture, community self

Esteem & pride, heritage & nature conservation.

  1. Development of RT is passport of poverty alleviation & can double women farmer’s income w/o creating negative impacts on environment & ecology.
  2. RT has potential of developing new professional profiles in form of local tour guides escorts, Manager of Accommodation, Production House, Food Joints, Souvenir Shops & Services. Women can be hires for such services.


  1. Rural women & farmers have inadequate knowledge, education & exposure which construct problem in understanding & management of travel & tourism sector which is most dynamic & vibrant.
  2. Inadequate infrastructures, lack of financial support, unsatisfactory training & education opportunities are other problems.

Socio –economic Change & Rural Tourism (RT)

  • Most important impact of increasing RT is impact on economy.
  • Traditional handloom & handicrafts of any place is matter of pride for local people thru tourism visitor can have benefit of directly buying finished products from local people. Turn will have a positive impact on overall economy.
  • Exchange of idea w/tourists will create anew idea among villagers.
  • This entails increasing interest in education, preventive health care, modern gadgets, etc. that will help in universal literacy.
  • Instead of having more hotels or guest houses in rural areas, better to encourage homestay. Tourist can have a taste of traditional practices along w/local recipes prevalent in rural India.
  • Language may be an important issue when it comes to tourism.
  • RT provides better opportunities for women’s participation in work force, women’s entrepreneurship & women’s leadership than other sectors of economy.

Rural Sustainable Tourism

  • Rural sustainable tourism is defined as one which can reinvigorate convectional concepts & views on tourism & bring a new dimension to sustainable development concept.
  • Sustainable tourism leads to betterment of local environment as eye grabber for people from outside.
  • First mention of sustainable tourism can be traced back to Sargent Committee report of 1946, which said that Indian culture promotes sustainable way of living.
  • As per a scheme to promote RT, in which thrust is given to promote village tourism to new geographic areas.
  • Under this scheme a convergence committee headed by district collector is formed & activities like improving environment, hygiene & infrastructure are taken up. Focus is to converge various rural development schemes to provide village tourism in a sustainable manner.
  • For promotion of RT several steps is taken underline development of RT infrastructure, promotion of organizing fairs, festivals & Tourism related events & encouragement to rural people to learn hospitality trades of food production, food & beverage service, housekeeping & bakery & patisserie for their economic empowerment.

Sustainable Tourism

  • Definition of sustainable tourism which leads to management of all resoirceces in such a way that economic, social & resources in such a be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity & life support systems.

Promoting Sustainable Rural Tourism

  • First & foremost step is preservation of traditional culture.
  • Second most of India’s around 700 wildlife habitats fall in remote areas, eco tourism can help in providing protection to wildlife there.
  • Third community development & involvement can help in sustainable tourism.
  • Forth promotion of non-intrusive tourism meaning those coming from outside should not hurt cultural, religious & societal ethos of locals.
  • Fifth sustainable tourism should be seen as poverty reduction strategy as envisaged in Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations.


  • Sustainable RT creates urban facilities for locals in rural areas & develop a large umber of semiskilled jobs for local population in not only local hotels & catering trades but in other fields like transport, retailing, heritage, interpretation etc.

Agri-Tourism: Potential & Challenges

  • Agri -tourism is a from of tourism which involves agriculture based operation that brings visitors to farms. Helps person understand & appreciate work done by farmer.
  • Thru Agri- tourism farmer benefits by increasing his earrings & this benefit could percolate to village community increased earning is possible thru following methods:
  1. Expanding his farm operations so as to create an interest in tourist. Farmer &/or community can prepare fresh juice or snacks & sell them to tourist.
  2. This strategy is seen in tourist places like in Mahabaleshwar where one of leading juice manufacturers has created a “see thru glass” enclosure thru which tourist is able to see how various fruit juices are prepared.
  3. Developing new consumer niches by selling farm products directly.
  4. Creating an improved farm living conditions working areas & farm recruitment opportunities
  5. Allowing tourists to either plough fields or harvest products for a price. This would however depend on farming cycle.
  6. Creation of museum where farming equipment are demonstrated & tourist gains knowledge of evolution of these equipment over years.
  7. Generating additional revenue for local business & service from tourist.
  8. Upgrading & revitalizing community facilities for residents & visitors.
  9. Helping preserve local traditions, art forms & culture.
  10. Helping in diversifying & strengthening rural economy thru hob creation
  11. Empowering women in villages. Interacting w/urban tourist could help in reducing impact of social ills like superstitions etc.
  • Agri tourism can take several forms. Some of products that can be offered are:

Farmers’ Market

  • §Here farm products can be purchased by tourist at any time & in any quantity.

Pick your own products

  • Gere tourist can be encouraged to enter farms & pick up products directly.

Savour local flavor

  • Typical village breakfast, lunch or dinner may be offered, for instance in Maharashtra ” kandapoha” is offered for breakfast. Tourist may sit on floor or on charpoy & have breakfast, lunch etc.


  • Tourist may be requested to try lighting choolah & cook simple food

Experience Rural life

  1. A conducted tour around village may give insight about rural life. In Mumbai for example one of world’s largest slums is located at a place called Dharavi.
  2. Foreign tourists like visiting Dharavi just to understand life in a slum.
  • Tourists may be offered animal Rides education training camps can be arranged so as to make stay interesting.

Quality & complexity of services

  • Quality in servicer is basic prerequisite for survival of Agri tourism.

Cooperation amongst stakeholders

  • §Agri tourism involves working together of both private & public organizations in tandem. Farmer who is at center of Agri tourism network of stakeholders is key to success.
  • §Stakeholders who are part of this Agri tourism network is given below:
  1. Farmer
  2. Medical facilities
  3. Transportation Network
  4. Safety Aspects
  5. Media & Communication
  6. Tourism organizations
  7. Government & Hospitality Industry

Public Awareness

  • Challenges it is necessary for Indian farmer
  1. To cater to concept of diversifying their agricultural business into Agri tourism.
  2. Need for a strategy to create innovative products
  3. Need for a well defined strategy both at national as well as state level.
  • Strategies in promoting Agri tourism could be:
  1. Proper recognition of Agri tourism industry.
  2. Government supported policy structure. There is a need for govt. to develop & implement policy measures in this regard.
  3. Education of farmer & farm owner for implementation of Agri tourism at village level. Inters free loan to be given to such cooperatives for development of Agri tourism. Product & service quality improvement training programs
  4. Timely delivery of services/proper development of 4 PS marketing Strategy & setting up of a proper public private partnership development model.
  • Agri tourism is a supportive system complimentary to agricultural activities. Development of Agri tourism can perhaps help a great deal in socio economic empowerment of farming community.

Impact of rural tourism on rural economy

  • Rural economy needs to be revitalized as there is over dependence om agriculture & w/lack of forward linkages, agro based industries have not grown at required pace.
  • Analysis of role of rural tourism in rural economy requires defining term “rural” & ” rural tourism”.
  • Term rural has different connotation for diff. countries & there is no consensus on its definition.
  • In India as per census of 2011 rural area is defined as an area which has population less than 10000. in same survey it is said that there are about seven lakh villages & around 69 % of population resides in these villages.
  • 62 % of total population depends on Agri culture for their livelihood. Rural tourism any form of tourism that showcases rural life, culture, traditions, folklore, handicrafts, heritage at rural locations.
  • Main focus is on giving tourists a firsthand experience of rural life & its various dimensions. Objectives is to connect people w/their roots as there are families who have lived in urban spaces for generation.
  • Less pollution, less density of people, natural produce, less technological interventions & cheap facilities are some of pull factors for rural tourism.

Economy & Tourism

  • Direct contribution of tourism sector to GDP was 3.7 % in 2017 which was expected to increase to 7.6 % in 2018 & by year 2018, it would be 3.9 % of GDP.
  • In terms of employment, in 2017 total employment, generated was 5 % which is expected to increase by 2.8 % in 2018& by 2.1 % in 2028.
  • INR 180379 cr. Showing a growth of 17 % b/w 2016 & 2017.
  • RT was first introduced in India in National Tourism Policy whereby 103projects were sanctioned by govt. during Tenth Five Year Plan.
  • Jammu & Kashmir has highest number of rural tourist sites (26).
  • Sustainable development is core of all developmental policies across world since it was first mentioned in Brundtland Report in 1987.
  • All around world rural tourism deals w/using local resources both physical & human & using it to market place for tourism.
  • When a village gets selected to be a part of rural tourism destinations the state machinery helps in developing these amenities.
  • Secondly it draws attention of local residents on heritage & culture that they uniquely posses which needs to be showcased to world.
  • Thirdly there is capacity building in these sites in terms of culinary skills, soft skills
  • Fourthly local business gets boost as number of consumers go up making it beneficial for local consumers as well as they get more variety of products.
  • Fifthly employment goes up but it may not be permanent in nature but there is diversification from agriculture which is a positive sign for rural economy.
  • There is huge infusion of investment in core & periphery of village there by improving over all economic health of villages.

Case Studies

Shaam- E- Sarhad, Hodka, Gujarat

  • Hodka is named after a jheel (lake) by same name. as part of Endogenous Tourism Project of UNDP, this village was selected for rural tourism in 2004. known for its rich embroidery & art work mostly done by women.
  • Basic idea of tourism here was to give feel of rural life amidst rural set up & for this villagers built mud houses which blended w/local landscape.
  • Annual income has increased from one lakh per annum to 45 lakhs per annum which is used for development of region.
  • A major achievements gave a formal outlook to Banni breeders association which led to recognition of Banni buffalo as eleventh breed of buffalo of India.

Naggar, Himachal Pradesh

  • Closen as one heritage sites for rural tourism under Endogenous Tourism Project of UNDP. Famous Russian painter Nicholas Roerich called it his home after he settled here.
  • Weaving of Naggar is famous & that is used as an unique selling point to attract tourists.

Benefits of Rural Tourism

Rural tourism (RT) as an economic product

  • RT aims at including & benefitting rural communities, which preserving their environmental in rural areas by creating additional income & employment.
  • Besides improving of rural tourism concurrently stimulates infrastructure development in areas of transport, telecommunication, banking, sanitation & electrification.

Who constitute rural tourists?

  • Rural tourists may be classified under following categories
  1. Visitors interested in daily picnic
  2. Visitors interested in short vacations
  3. Senior citizens
  4. Urban youth

Convectional Tourism vs. Experiential Tourism

  • Convectional tourism involving just visiting tourist destinations to experiential tourism.

Benefits of Rural Tourism

  • Provides alternate & novel employment opportunities in village they live. Rural tourism increases faith in their traditions/occupations & motivates them to stay at village
  • RT will lead to creation of several supporting services where enterprising villages transform them selves into service providers.
  • RT facilitates expansion of complementary businesses like service stations, hospitality services, recreational activities, crafts/arts.
  • Interaction w/tourists & close association w/tour operator/planners connects them to outside world & in process rural urban divide gets blurred for good.
  • Enterprising youth in villages get new career opportunities suited to their energies & enthusiasm. RT provides a chance to sharpen their creative skills w/respect to product design & improvement.
  • For instance, handlooms, pottery, wood carvings &several other region specific in villages are on way out in modern market economy.
  • RT is only way to sustain & preserve folklore, music, dance & drama which form part of rural cultural heritage & legacy.
  • RT is easiest way to provide gainful employment to women folk in villages as Indian women are know for their hospitality.
  • w/revenue that village will get from tourists thru entry fee, parking charges & cess levied on local services providers.
  • As alternative tourism produced like RT are promoted market mechanism brings down over heads at popular/conventional destination which in turn is a big relief to tourists.
  • w/deep pockets & a strong desire for an exclusive experience, rural tourist’s affordability of trip cost is quite high. As such profit per tourist to various tour operators in supply chain, namely tour operators, transport providers, tour escorts, etc. is impressive.
  • Few villages selected for RT promotion will eventually emerge as RT hubs.
  • Scope of tourism industry could be enhanced as product mix gets enriched w/inclusion of rural tourism in product basket.

Benefits to Society at large

  • RT provides an opportunity to engage local resource both physical & human
  • In view of need to showcase local heritage & culture, villages take initiatives to preserve local buildings inherited form past, abandoned places & castles, old canal water ways, etc.
  • Facilitates creating a favorable ecosystem in rural areas conducive to tourism
  • RT acts as a tool w/minimum cost to bridge psychological & emotional gap b/w urban & rural populace, as consumers of product & marketers of products respectively.
  • Few RT destinations which have gained visibility in RT map of India. Banavasi in Karnataka where wood carving, artifacts, musical instruments & stone cuttings ensures tourists.
  • Raghurajpur in Odisha is know for Pattachitra painters & Gotipua dance troupes precursor to Indian classical dance form of Odissi.
  • Hodka village in Gujarat is another popular RT destination where finest leather craft artisns & embroidery craftsmen arouse lots of curiosity.

  • Pochampalli has found place in UNESCO tentative list of World Heritage Sites as part of “Iconic saree weaving clusters of India”.

Prospects of Rural Tourism in North East

Why Rural Tourism is do important?

  • About 68.84 % population lives in rural areas of India & majority of them are dependent on subsistence agriculture w/o any alternative means of livelihoods.
  • RT has a great capacity to create large scale employment for both skilled & unskilled labor force including youths residing in rural areas.
  • Promoting of RT can reduce incidence of migration
  • It provides a great opportunity for womenfolk to contribute to mainstream gender empowerment.
  • Provides an opportunity to optimizing sue of village level recourses/assets.
  • Provides a national/international platform for rural art & handicraft made by rural folk
  • Food festival dress. RT can promote cultural identity of tribal & other community
  • It provides impetus to rural economy & linked them to economy of world

North Eastern States: Treasure of Natural Beauty & Cultural Rainbow

  • Manmade parks, sanctuaries & sharing of 96 % international boundaries w/Nepal, Bhutan, China, Myanmar & Bangladesh have made region as hot spot of tourism.
  • Top 5 destination States in 2016 for domestic tourist were Tamilnadu, Utter Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh & Karnataka while top 5 destinations for international tourist were Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, Utter Pradesh, Delhi & West Bengal during 2016.

Rural Tourism in States of North East India

  • Region having eight States w/7.98 % of Country’s landmass & 3.76 % of Country’s total population is primarily rural. More than 81 % of region’s population is inhabitants of rural areas.
  • State tourism Policy covers entire territory of respective State & it is basically a RT Policy because it would very difficult to draw a line b/w rural & urban areas in all states.

Review of North Eastern States Tourism Policy & Plan for Rural Tourism

  • Arunachal Pradesh Tourism Development Plan is to harness direct & multiplier effects of tourism for employment generation, economic development & providing impetus to rural tourism.
  • Tourism policy of Assam focuses plentiful natural & cultural resource to form basis for very lucrative tourism industry, creating employment & generating income not only in urban centres but in rural areas.
  • Focus on its rich cultural heritage & natural beauty, State of (Meghalaya tourism policy) states rural tourism will ensure dispersal objective of policy is to harness vast untapped RT perspective of state so that their multiplier benefit filters out directly to rural communities.
  • Tourism policy of Manipur focuses on place of cultural attractions, particularly, monuments & archeological remains, its art, handloom & handicrafts & colorful fair& festivals.
  • Mizoram’s tourism policy proposed to develop & promote diff. village ecotourism package for diff. target groups w/potential village after carrying out micro planning exercises.
  • Nagaland has farmed policy to promote tourism w/a special focus on promoting of rural, ethnic, cultural, eco & adventure tourism in state based on thorough understanding of local resources, social & economic factors & other characteristics.
  • Sikkim tourism policy strongly focuses on promotion of RT to showcase Sikkim’s Vibrant & diverse culture.

- Published/Last Modified on: April 16, 2019


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