Ministry to help effective marketing of rural tourism sites

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New Delhi, May 29 (UNI) Union Ministry of Tourism has asked the stakeholders to make effective marketing arrangements, including tie ups with the travel trade,at regional, national and international level to promote Rural Tourism.

"We are giving the highest priority to rural tourism as it is a innovative tourism product which benefits the host communities of the sites in rural areas," Tourism Secretary S Banerjee said here today.

Speaking at a rural tourism workshop here, he said the employment potential of tourism had been widely accepted, besides its socio and economic benefits for rural communities. It could support the languishing arts and crafts, while showcasing the rich culture and diverse cuisine of the sites.

Mr Banerjee emphasised that infrastructure constraints were being de-bottlenecked in order to reach the region's competitive arrivals levels. "The focus is on promoting tourism that is sustainable, in harmony with the surroundings." Rural Tourism products all over the country have now received a fresh, wider projection with the readiness of 14 further rural sites after the first 15 of the Ministry's 36 UNDP-partnered rural sites became ready last year.

Joint Secretary (Tourism), Leena Nandan referred to the Project website www.exploreruralindia.org which was re-launched last year, with creation of the Explore Rural India sub-brand, as a constituent of the Incredible India mother brand.

Mr Vijay Thakur, President of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), has confirmed that IATO will accordingly launch Rural Tourism packages at their coming Annual Convention in Bhubaneshwar in August 2008, thereby adding a new experiential dimension for the visitors.

The participants at the Workshop organised by the Ministry of Tourism included, for the first time, principal stakeholders of Village Tourism Committees of the rural tourism sites, thereby ensuring their engagement at the national level.

UNI SH SK KN1707

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