22 Sep : Ministry of Tourism has associated with UNDP, host State Tourism Departments, leading international and national experts, the global tourism industry and principal stakeholders, to hold a Global Conference on the contemporary subject of Responsible Tourism for Inclusive Growth in December 2008 in New Delhi.
This is being preceded by four regional thematic conferences across India, also with international and national stakeholders, feeding into the main Conference.
The true potential of tourism lies in responsible practices on both demand and supply sides, enabling an effective response to climate change. This is closely interlinked with inclusive growth through sustainable community participation.
Ministry of Tourism has taken innovative steps in this direction. The Ministry’s UNDP-partnered Rural Tourism Project positions India’s rural way of life as a unique visitor experience in low-impact settings, which can be viewed at www.exploreruralindia.org
The conferences will deliberate on core issues that will help create practical steps for our collective tourism future.
This ‘responsible’ tourism route has been adopted by the Ministry in its successful partnership with UNDP for the innovative Rural Tourism Project, by strengthening the disadvantaged but skilled rural artisan communities through support to capacity building and vernacular infrastructure, while laying emphasis on the role of women.
The responsible tourism challenge requires sustainable practices to attain the optimum fit in demand and supply of the earth’s finite resources, such that present visitor requirements harmonise with future uses but without irreversible negative impact.
The cultural and bio-geographic diversity of India provides multiple-interest visitor attractions for all seasons, enabling livelihoods for local communities through sustainable strategies based on craft, culture and the natural environment. The employment generation potential of tourism is also linked with the high volume of both international domestic tourism that uses a range of services and accommodation including that provided by the small sector.
The four one-day Thematic Regional Conferences during September-October 2008 are:
Responsible Tourism-The Industry Perspective: Kochi, 23 September 2008 – jointly with Kerala Tourism at Kerala Travel Mart
This is a platform for direct interaction between the demand and supply sides of Responsible Tourism. It will enable clear understanding of visitor requirements by service providers, while keeping requisite safeguards in place, such that tourism outcomes could be optimised for mutual benefit.
The presentations include: (1) Branding & Marketing; (2) Cutting Edge Product Creation; (3) View From Overseas Markets (4) Operational Needs (5) Experiences Off the Beaten Track
Local Governance and Convergence for Responsible Tourism: Bhopal, 29 September 2008
This conference focuses on development models where tourism is responsible for safeguarding culture, with inclusive growth and market linkages. Equally, it will stress on economic sustainability beyond the project hand-holding period, such as Self Help Groups thrust and also the need to avoid duplication of funding efforts for local felt needs.
This will feature: (1) Convergence For forward & Back Linkages (2) Governance For Livelihoods-linked Rural Tourism Initiatives With Local Community Participation (3) State Level Sustainable Tourism Initiatives In Competitive Environments (4) Role Of Village Tourism Committees In Field Operations (5) Vernacular Architecture In Tourism With Local Material, Local Styles & Local Skills
Community Participation and Empowerment: Shillong, 14 October 2008
This conference dwells on community participation which is at the core of the innovative rural tourism initiative, inclusive of collective representation and self-sustaining growth without continued external support. Gender equity is a core fundamental here
This conference will focus on : (1) Empowerment of Women, by a successful Mahila Mandal Chief (2) Community Participation In Responsible Tourism Through Panchayat Institutions (3) Experience Of NGOs In Mobilising Community Participation & Empowerment (4) Local Web Empowerment Through E-Initiatives
Capacity Building: Waste Management, Training and Skill Development: Chennai, 21 October 2008
This Conference provides the critical link between Responsible Tourism as an effective response to climate change. It will thereby highlight the need and process for sanitation and waste management which negatively impact repeat visits and the image of the destination. Training and skill development therefore form the USP in the UNDP-partnered Rural Tourism Project for rural livelihoods support via the responsible tourism process.
This Conference will highlight (1) Waste Management Techniques (2) Capacity Building Of Local Communities For Livelihoods Through Responsible Tourism (3) Design Intervention for Skill Development (4) Training In Appropriate Technology Through Specialised Technical Institutions (5) Theatre Arts Research (6) Sustainable Application Of Water, Energy & Construction Practices
Each Regional Thematic Conference will provide substantive inputs for the Global Conference on Responsible Tourism for Inclusive Growth in December 2008.