Draft National Strategy and Roadmap for Rural Tourism


    In News

    • The Ministry of Tourism has formulated a Draft National Strategy and Roadmap for Rural Tourism to develop and promote local products through tourism.
      • The Centre has sanctioned Rs. 120 crores for Rural Circuit.

    Draft National Strategy and Roadmap for Rural Tourism formulated

    • Key Strategic Pillars:
      • In order to develop rural tourism in the country, the strategy focuses on the following key pillars:
        • Model policies and best practices for rural tourism
        • Digital technologies and platforms for rural tourism
        • Developing clusters for rural tourism
        • Marketing support for rural tourism
        • Capacity building of stakeholders
        • Governance and Institutional Framework
    • Circuits: 
      • Rural Circuit is one of the fifteen thematic circuits under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
      • It aimed at leveraging tourism as a force multiplier for revitalising the rural economy and for giving both domestic and international tourists a glimpse of the rural aspect of the country. 
    • Focus on: 
      • It focuses on developing and promoting local products through tourism, subsequently resulting in the generation of income and jobs in rural areas and empowering local communities, youth and women, fulfilling the vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

    Tourist Circuit

    • Tourist Circuit is defined as a route having at least three major tourist destinations which are distinct and apart.
    • Circuits should have well-defined entry and exit points. A tourist who enters should get motivated to visit most of the places identified in the circuit.
    • A Circuit could be confined to a State or could be a regional circuit covering more than one State/Union Territory. These circuits may have one dominant theme and other sub-themes.
    • Projects under the scheme shall be under the following identified themes: 
      • Ecotourism, 
      • Wildlife, 
      • Buddhist, 
      • Desert, 
      • Spiritual, 
      • Ramayana, 
      • Krishna, 
      • Coastal, 
      • Northeast, 
      • Rural, 
      • Himalayan, 
      • Tribal and 
      • Heritage.

    Rural Tourism

    • Rural tourism in India has the following strengths:
      • Indian villages have unparalleled culture, craft, music, dance and heritage to offer to the visitors
      • Expansion of road infrastructure has made most of the rural areas accessible,
      • Well-developed agriculture and farms to provide stay facilities and
      • experiences
      • Beautiful climate conditions and Biodiversity
      • Apart from the mainland rural areas, India has coastal, Himalayan, desert, forest and tribal areas amongst others for tourists
      • India has huge potential for related areas such as Eco-tourism, Nature Reserves, Wildlife tourism
    • Rural tourism has the following weaknesses:
      • Lack of prioritisation for rural tourism at the State and National level
      • Poor profiling of rural product offerings
      • Poor tourism supporting infrastructure including ICT in rural areas
      • Lack of tourism awareness and skills in rural areas,
      • Poor resource allocation and lack of inclusive planning and community
      • involvement,
      • Poor coordination of tourism initiatives,
      • Capacity gap at the Panchayati Raj Institutions to promote rural tourism
      • Poor service delivery and lack of implementation
    • Rural Tourism offers a wide range of opportunities:
      • Creation of jobs, retention of jobs and new business opportunities
      • Rural tourism can lead the way for sustainable and responsible tourism
      • Sustainable exploitation of untapped rural culture and heritage offerings
      • Unspoilt natural and rural tranquillity,
    • Rural tourism also faces the following threats
      • Lack of reliable data and statistics,
      • Lack of well-planned approach,
      • Environmental degradation
      • Social and cultural influences 

    Swadesh Darshan Scheme

    • About: 
      • Swadesh Darshan Scheme is a Central Sector Scheme launched in 2014-15 by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India for the integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits.
    • Aim: 
      • The scheme aims to promote, develop and harness the potential of tourism in India.
    • Finance: 
      • Under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, the Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to State Governments, Union Territory Administrations for the infrastructure development of circuits.
    • Synergise with another scheme: 
      • This scheme is envisioned to synergise with other schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India, Make in India etc. with the idea of positioning the tourism sector as a major engine for job creation, the driving force for economic growth, building synergy with various sectors to enable tourism to realise its potential.

    Sources: IE + PIB