NEW DELHI: Green tourism, digitalisation, skill development, support for small tourism companies and destination management have been identified as the five priority areas by the tourism working group under G20. The first meeting of the working group under India’s G20 presidency concluded recently at the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.
The inaugural session of the meeting was addressed by the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra Bhai Patel; Minister of Tourism, Culture and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), G. Kishan Reddy; and the Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Parshottam Rupala.
SDGs through tourism
During his keynote address, Reddy highlighted India’s focus on achieving sustainable development goals through tourism. He also spoke about the tourism ministry’s efforts to promote rural tourism and develop a “national strategy” to work on the “vision” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India self-sustainable.
Elaborating on the vision of PM Modi and how tourism can boost his initiative of Atmanirbhar Bharat, Reddy said, “tourism must not be seen just as a means of pleasure, but as a tool to boost employment, entrepreneurship and building communities”.
As part of the five priority areas, green tourism will include greening initiatives for a sustainable, responsible and resilient tourism sector. Digitalisation initiatives will include harnessing the power of technology to promote competitiveness and inclusion in tourism sector; skilling will include empowering youth for jobs and entrepreneurship in tourism sector; tourism MSMEs and startups will be nurtured to unleash innovation and dynamism in the sector; and destination management will include rethinking the strategic management of destinations towards a holistic approach that delivers on the sustainable development goals. Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh gave the delegates and global tourism stakeholders a glimpse into the biodiverse landscape, rich cultural and architectural heritage of India.
Singh also felicitated the panelists of the side event ‘Promotion of Archeological Tourism: Discovering Shared Cultural Heritage’. A panel discussion on ‘How can tourism policy support tourism’s contribution to rural development’ was moderated by Sandra Carzo, Chief, Tourism Market Intelligence and Competitiveness, UNWTO. Delegates from Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Japan, UNEP, ILO also shared their experiences.
A session on ‘The Case of India’ showcasing the most successful and innovative initiatives in the domain of rural tourism from across India saw participation from Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Nagaland along with industry partners who shared their experiences.