TODAY -

Tourism promotion through community participation

Ranjan K Baruah *

Manipur Tourism Logo



Northeastern region has been bestowed with pristine natural beauty. Its bio diversity, culture, music, festivals, heritage, etc make it one of the unique tourist destinations. There are scopes for eco tourism, tea tourism, golf tourism, adventure sports, etc. But the big question is, have we been able to attract tourist from outside and engage community for the promotion of tourism in the north east region?

Tourism is one of the industry for which we do not need to invest much as the elements of attraction are already in abundance. What we need is management of the areas and good publicity, and service industry like hospitality which shall bring in more tourists to the region. We could see how people from north eastern region visit foreign countries for different purposes as tourists.

What is needed here is to bring in tourists; we will have to make all necessary arrangement and management to attract attention of tourist to our region. Apart from tour operators or similar agencies, government too has a major role to play. Tourist locations are to be made popular and amenities should be available in and around all tourist locations. Engagement of communities for the tourism promotion is a win-win situation for all. It enhances people's participation and it also helps in uplifting economic activities.

New concept could be seen in the state and region. Some of the examples of good marketing and branding is creating the popularity of Mawlynlong Village of Meghalaya. Known as cleanest village in Asia, this location attracts many tourists from different parts of the country. In last 2/3 years the areas have changed and now we can see how people in the village are benefitted directly or indirectly through tourism.

Though one doesn't see any big hotels but the arrangement of home stays has become popular. Home stay is a classic example of community participation in the tourism sector. Similarly home stays are gaining popularity in and around Kaziranga in Assam and also during Hornbill Festival in Kisama Village near Kohima, held in the first week of December every year.

This year's World Tourism Day (WTD) draws special attention to the role of tourism in contributing to one of the building blocks of a more sustainable future for all. The theme for this year is Tourism and Community Development. "Harnessing tourism's immense benefits will be critical to achieving the sustainable development goals and implementing the post 2015 development agenda," says United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on the occasion of WTD.

As a sector representing 9% of global GDP, one in 11 jobs worldwide, and a key revenue sector for developing and emerging economies, tourism is widely acknowledged for its capacity to respond to global challenges. WTD 2014 highlights how tourism can be conducive to advancing sustainable development from the grassroots level. Community based tourism involves the local population in the decision making process according to local priorities.

WTD is commemorated each year on 27 September. Its purpose is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event seeks to address global challenges outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and to highlight the contribution the tourism industry can make in reaching these goals.

It was at its third session (Torremolinos, Spain, September 1979), that the UNWTO General Assembly decided to institute World Tourism Day, commencing in the year 1980. This date was chosen to coincide with an important milestone in world tourism: the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes on 27 September 1970.The timing of World Tourism Day is particularly appropriate in that it comes at the end of the high season in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of the season in the southern hemisphere, when tourism is of topical interest to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

There is no shadow of doubt that tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world and Manipur has ample potential when it comes to tourism and more importantly eco tourism. The opportunity to become a part of the tourism value chain actively involves host communities. It is important that local communities must be encouraged and engaged in the tourism industry. Government must encourage communities because that will not only protect all the areas but also foster positive change and development through tourism industry.

Tourism is a people-based economic activity built on social interaction, and as such can only prosper if it engages the local population by contributing to social values such as participation, education and enhanced local governance. At the same time, there can be no real tourism development if such development damages in any way the values and the culture of host communities or if the socio-economic benefits generated by the tourism sector do not trickle down to the community level.


* Ranjan K Baruah wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on September 27, 2014.


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