KICS

is a forum for conversations amongst activists and academics on issues relating to science and democracy.

Responsible Rural Tourism

Report of the Meeting:

Another edition of KICS meeting on 7th February 2008 at CWS conference hall, introduced participants to a new initiative put forward by a team of two young entrepreneurs, Mr. Inir Pinherio and Mr. Abhijeet representing Grassroutes, an organisation promoting “responsible rural tourism”.

The presentation brought out the potential of rural tourism (tourists come to villages to experience rural environment and probably relax) and how this could be tapped with proper planning, while keeping up one’s own responsibility. The innovative enterprise involves local (trained) community, a local NGO and Grassroutes; the actual planning and executing agency with profits accruing to all involved in an equitable manner. The model is being tried out in two villages of Ahmednagar in Maharashtra.

Important elements of Responsible Rural Eco-tourism

1.The responsibilities related to tourism in the villages are supervised by the village tourism committee, with clear designated roles and responsibilities.
2.Performance is evaluated by the village tourism committee and Grassroutes.
3.Money accruing from this will add to the village economy and minimise the adverse steps like migration, adopted by community to fulfil livelihood requirements. In the two villages, where rural tourism is being promoted, tourism has emerged as the second major livelihood source after agriculture.
4.Gainful employment has also provided some youth to continue their education, with the money gained from tourism.
5. “Responsible rural tourism” while consciously attempts to minimise ill effects of other existing rural tourism (may harm culture, spread alcohol, littering of garbage- particularly plastic), it tries to ensure a safe tourism experience to tourists and local community. The involved in this are ensured equitable share to money earned.

The new attempt by the youngsters had several queries and participants were interested to know about:

1.Details of orientation provided to villagers.
2.Nature and role of village institutions involved with possible role of panchayats
3.Marketing approaches, any particular target group focused, for rural tourism and the cost to tourists.
4.How social and cultural shocks are minimised?
5.How equitability is ensured

An important question on what the objects of rural tourism could be and how objects of tourism can be created, was deemed important, requiring careful thinking before promoting and scaling up rural tourism. Possibility of village culture being better understood as one object of tourism was floated aloud in the meeting.

A few probing suggestions and dilemmas offered in the meeting were:
1.People’s (tourists) expectation differs, hence need for orienting people in these directions would be important.
2.Investment on understanding the knowledge and problem dimension of responsible rural tourism is necessary.
3.Village mechanisms can control implications of rural tourism to a large extent.
4.Role of NGOs must be clearly defined.
5.Ecological sustainability through rural/eco-tourism is a question

In conclusion; the innovative enterprise shows how new thoughts can have the potential of mutual benefit and if well planned and implemented it could be a profitable venture to all involved. The present initiative should invest more to have deeper appreciation on the social, cultural, ethical and environmental dimensions while understanding existing and potential problems to overcome. Overall, the initiative and efforts of Grassroutes was appreciable and deserved support to enrich the process while minimising the negative elements. A future presentation with greater experience clearing above dilemmas was hoped.

Nearly 30 participants (list enclosed) from civil society and educational institutions made the sharing experience worthwhile and a useful learning exercise.

L.V.Prasad, Joint Director, CWS, moderated the meeting (and has also authored this report), to which participants were welcomed by Sri.M.V.Sastri of CWS.

Encl: List of Participants

CC to:  Dr. Shambu Prasad.

Sl.No.
Name
Place
1)
Ms.Swati
CWS, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
2)
Ms.N.Jhansi Rani
CWS, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
3)
Mr.D.Srinivas Reddy
CWS, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
4)
Mr.Ch. Venkateshwarlu
BODHI,CWS, Tarnaka Secunderabad
5)
Mr.P.Kameswara Rao
CWS,  Tarnaka,Secunderabad
6)
Mr.R.Subramanyam Naidu
WASSAN, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
7)
Mr.V.Murali
WASSAN, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
8)
Mr.L.V.Prasad
CWS, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
9)
Mr.N.Nilambar,
CWS, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
10)
Mr.M.V.Sastri
CWS, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
11)
Mr.M.R.S.Karthile
BHUMI, Hyderabad
12)
Mr.K.V.Seshendra
BHUMI, Hyderabad
13)
Mr.M.Bhakthar Vali
WASSAN, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
14)
Mr.M.V.Ramachandrudu
WASSAN, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
15)
Dr.C.V.Shyamala
CWS, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
16)
Mr.V.V.S.Suryanarayana
BYRRAJU Foundation, Hyderabad
17)
Mr.Rohan Sinha

18)
Mr.P.Chandra Mohan
WASSAN, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
19)
Mr.S.Narasimha Rao
WASSAN, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
20)
Mr.H.Vageeshan
CWS, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
21)
Mr.Abhijeet P. Karthekar
Grassroutes
22)
Mr.Inir Pinheiro

23)
Prof.K.Ilaiah
BODHI,CWS, Tarnaka Secunderabad
24)
Mr.U.Chandrashekar
BODHI,CWS, Tarnaka Secunderabad
25)
Mr.R.V.Rama Mohan
CWS, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
26)
Ms.J.Lakshmi
CWS, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
27)
Mr.R.Ravi Kumar
NDF,CWS, Tarnaka Secunderabad

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