Fr. Sanjay Kujur, S.J.
Scope of Rural Tourism in India
Every country is blessed with a variety of natural resources with uniqueness whether it is geographical structures, habitats or people and their culture, traditions, socio-economic background, civilizations etc. that attracts people. Unlike other countries India is blessed with such diverse heritage feature found in rural India. Majority of Indians live in rural areas and they need to be addressed as important rich heritage through the intervention of rural tourism. India is a developing country, therefore, rural tourism is often considered a good option for rural development and poverty alleviation. Besides agriculture being a basic source of livelihood, rural tourism provides an alternative source for the living and creating a large scale of employment in rural areas. Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world. In both the developed and the developing countries, it has become a possible means of raising the economic activities in the region. Promotion of rural tourism is also recognized as an instrument for sustainable livelihoods of the rural people. Almost 70% of Indian population resides in the villages and primarily depends on agriculture. However, these villages have much to offer beyond agriculture. It has the tremendous possibilities for various sectors of tourism such as nature-based tourism, eco-tourism, wildlife sanctuary, health tourism, adventure tourism, farm tourism, traditional art and sculpture base tourism, cultural base tourism, religious tourism etc. The magnificent scenic splendor and wide range of affluent biodiversity has a tremendous growth potential of rural tourism in India. However, the challenges like lack of infrastructures, connectivity, lack of awareness, lack of technological support, lack of human resources, lack of promotion of rural destination of attraction, and basic amenities are some of the impediments that require further consideration for action. Public and private sectors both need to play a greater role in order to promote rural tourism. Rural tourism in India is still an emerging concept and if the idea is seriously promoted and extensively adopted, it can create a sustainable livelihood model for vast majority of people. It can be a great source of income generation for local communities. Such income can then be made use of for the sustainability of traditional activities, promotion and conservation of local arts, cultures, biodiversities, nature base heritage and prevention of rural –urban migration. This paper is focused on rural tourism in Indian context, its issues, challenges and the possibilities of the sustainable source of income. The research study will help to find out the various scopes of rural tourism. This will give the new thrust to the stakeholders like local citizens and government who will be able to see the bright future of rural tourism. Research design Objectives of study Methodology: It will mainly qualitative and descriptive in nature. Source of data: Secondary sources through books, journals, magazines and web portals. Sample Size: Important rural tourist places of India Research Tools; Charts and graphs, using MS-Excel Major findings Suggestions and recommendations Conclusion