New Delhi, Oct 30 (UNI) As many as 15 rural tourism sites will soon be ready for marketing in different parts of the country.
They are : Pochampalli (Andhra Pradesh), Sualkuchi (Assam), Nepura (Bihar), Hodka (Gujarat), Jyotisar ( Haryana), Naggar (Himachal Pradesh), Banavasi (Karnataka), Aranmula and Kumbalangi (both Kerala), Chougan and Pranpur (both Madhya Pradesh), Samode (Rajasthan), Lachen (Sikkim), Karaikudi (Tamil Nadu) and Ballavpur Dana (West Bengal).
Tourism Ministry sources said here today that the rural tourism project at Raghurajpur in Orissa was an example of where tourist arrivals and the income from the craft sales had gone up.
As part of promotion of rural tourism, the Tourism Ministry is organising a Rural Tourism Festival at Delhi Haat during November 3-5 and at the India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan during November 14-27.
The 10th Five Year Plan has identified tourism as one of the major sources of generating sustainable livelihood and employment in India. Rural Tourism is showcasing arts and crafts in its traditional setting and providing a platform for tourists to experience rural ambience.
Concept of homestays with food, clean water and toilets is being promoted among host community. Capacity building for sensitising the community in preparing and serving traditional cuisine and interacting with visitors, besides improvement in cleanliness and hygiene in the village and environmental awareness are taken up.
The Union Tourism Ministry is implementing the Rural Tourism Scheme to promote Village Tourism as a primary tourism product to spread tourism and its socio-economic benefits to rural and its new geographic regions in India.
The local community has been trained to manage the tourism site, all by its own for sustainability. The community has been equipped through goal setting exercises in the maintenance of the site.
For sustainable marketing and operation by the local community, all segments of the tourism industry, media and State Tourism Departments, play a major role. Effective documentation of sites through brochures, cards, upgradation of websites etc.
www.exploreruralindia.org depicting site attractions.
Sources said efforts were underway to integrate rural tourism sites with other nearby major tourist destinations.
The Tourism Ministry considers work plans from all States and Union Territories for funding the hardware activities up to a total of Rs 50 lakh and software activities up to a total of Rs 20 lakh per site in potential rural tourism locations.