Rural tourism in India:
Prospects for rural tourism in India:
Role in Rural development:
Indians believe in holidays: The country has among the largest number of public holidays in the world. Yet the most common reason for getting away is to "visit a native place." Migrant workers return to their family farms at harvest time. Others return to their villages for an annual pilgrimage. The concept of a holiday where you let your hair down and relax has been accepted only in recent years. (2) As India is Considered as “Land of Villages” world wide, it villages which showcase India, Villagers in India manifest a deep loyalty to their village, identifying themselves to strangers as residents of a particular village, harking back to family residence in the village that typically extends into the distant past. A family rooted in a particular village does not easily move to another and even people who have lived in a city for a generation or two refer to their ancestral village as "our village." (1) To understand better about rural tourism is any form of tourism that showcases rural life, art, culture and heritage at rural locations, thereby benefiting the local community economically and socially as well as enabling interaction between the tourists and the locals for a more enriching tourism experience, can be termed as rural tourism." On the other hand "Rural tourism is essentially an activity which takes place in the countryside. It is multifaceted and may entail farm/agricultural tourism, cultural tourism, nature tourism, adventure tourism and ecotourism. As against conventional tourism, rural tourism has certain typical characteristics: It is experience-oriented; the locations are sparsely populated; it is predominantly in natural environments; it meshes with seasonality and local events; and it is based on the preservation of culture, heritage and traditions." (2) Experts in the relevant field Mr. Rajesh K. Aithal, assistant professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, has another definition. "Rural tourism is a form of tourism in which the guests get to enjoy the unique culture of village life through participation in events, or experiencing the local cuisine, or buying ethnic goods, and in the process also improve the welfare of the local people." (2) Thus, from the durability point of view for rural development a careful planning and vision towards rural tourism can contribute for rural development. In the following paper let us discuss about role of rural tourism in rural development.
Rural tourism in India:
India is known as “Land of villages”. More than 77 crore farmers live in 5.5 lakhs of village (2001). Agriculture contributed about 18.5% of the national income (2006-07) as compared to a high 50% in 1950. 85% of population of India still depends on Agriculture hence Agriculture is not mere business, but is still the “True Culture of India”. (7) Also Agriculture has played a significant role in the economic development of India. It plays an important role in providing a food supply for India’s massive population and raw materials for the industrial sector. Increasingly, it is also becoming a potential source of foreign exchange through tourism and export crops. Under current regional and global free trade agreements, Indian agricultural products are expected to succeed competitively in international markets. Tourism has been growing rapidly in India. Rural tourism can be expected to play an important role in the growth of both agriculture and tourism simultaneously. This involves a valuable synergy for both sectors, both of which emphasize their goal as value-added improvement. Tourism as a commodity is principally the fulfillment of tastes and preferences of consumers by both goods (commodities, products, souvenirs, etc.) and services (comfortable accommodation, scenic...