Corporate Social Responsibility in Tourism

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) defined as the ethical behavior of a company towards the society, manifests itself in the form of such noble programs initiated by for-profit organizations. The concept has come into knowing trends now, but the practice has been on since ages, with corporate like Tata Group, Aditya Birla Group, Indian Oil Corporation, to name a few. They have been serving the community ever since their inception and organizations have realized that besides growing their businesses it is also vital to build trustworthy and sustainable relationships with the community at large.

Though India is one of the fastest growing economies, socio-economic problems like poverty, illiteracy, lack of healthcare etc. are still ubiquitous and the government has limited resources to tackle these challenges. This scenario has opened up several areas for businesses to contribute towards social development. These programs, in many cases, are based on a clearly defined social philosophy or are closely aligned with the companies’ business expertise. Employees become the backbone of these initiatives and volunteer their time and contribute their skills, to implement them. CSR Programs could range from overall development of a community to supporting specific causes like education, environment, healthcare etc. Some possible benefits highlighted by the participating respondents Include the following:

• Positive and long-term relationship with communities • Nation-building and prosperity of region of their operations and activities • Providing support where Government’s support is inadequate and limited • Helping supply chain management and

• Supporting creation of a healthy human resource base for the corporates For example, organizations like Bharath Petroleum Corporation Limited, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, and Hindustan Unilever Limited, adopt villages where they focus on holistic development. They provide better medical and sanitation facilities, build schools and houses, and help the villagers become self-reliant by teaching them vocational and business skills. On the other hand GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals’ CSR programs primarily focus on health and healthy living. They work in tribal villages where they provide medical check-up and treatment, health camps and health awareness programs. They also provide money, medicines and equipment to non-profit organizations that work towards improving health and education in under-served communities.

Why Companies initiate the Corporate Social Responsibility aspect?

CSR is seen as a catalyst in bringing positive social change. While some companies work on it to improve perception about the company, many do it to brand the company among people. A few other firms take up the task to get tax benefit, while some organizations take up CSR work as it mandatory in their case.

India’s tourism industry is experiencing a strong period of growth, driven by the burgeoning Indian middle class, growth in high spending foreign tourists, and coordinated government campaigns to promote ‘Incredible India’. The tourism industry in India is substantial and vibrant, and the country is fast becoming a major global destination. India’s travel and tourism industry is one of them most profitable industries in the country, and also credited with contributing a substantial amount of foreign exchange. Several reasons are cited for the growth and prosperity of India’s travel and tourism industry. Economic growth has added millions annually to the ranks of India’s middle class, a group that is driving domestic tourism growth. The Tourism Ministry has also played an important role in the development of the industry, initiating advertising campaigns such as the 'Incredible...
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