#tourism #village #migrants
Tourism is less about the monuments and more about the experience one receives. Tourism is about creating experiences. Everyone wants to be elated, to be adventurous in small strokes once in a while; even the most introverted person – that’s where the opportunity is. Tourism can be “created”.
The recent 6-week long lock-down has silently but firmly sent us an indication – local self reliance MUST be accomplished, at all costs, to ensure balanced quality of life at grass-root level.
Migration, pandemic, tourism, possibilities – let’s connect the dots. This article discusses turning a village into a tourist spot: why & how.
Being local-centric is no way a compromise. TOURISM and COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT have one thing in common – both are essentially LOCAL in nature – both boost the local ecosystem.
This Concept Paper gives nuts and bolts for why and how to turn a village into an upbeat center for tourism and economic activities.
This article and the thought was triggered by the fact that many budget hotels were struggling operationally prior to OYO and AIRBNB. They were almost competitively insignificant before OYO kind of conceptualization.
On the surface, OYO may seem to be aggregation. – but, at deeper level, it much more. Perhaps it can be better illustrated than explained through words.
The genesis of this article has been in one question – how can we replicate the same phenomenon for tourism circuits? Tourism Circuits before and after ___(XYZ)____?
WHY VILLAGE TOURISM?
- Although the urge to move and migrate seems to be in human DNA, but, at the same time, a big segment of the metro-bound crowd can be retained at smaller towns by giving them equally good chances of making a living at hometowns. This will reduce the burden on metro city management in number of ways – infrastructure, social strain, resources. Village Tourism can bridge the gap between urban-rural divide.
- Days are gone when there was disparity in what was available in metro, and in small towns – opportunities, skills, Internet, information.
- The Quality of Life can be enhanced for citizens much faster if we can expose the urban and non-urban lifestyles to each other mutually. The “Urban-Rural Divide” is partly due to perception gap (unreal), and partly due to uniqueness gap (real) – both the urban as well as rural have own unique potential and unique abilities. Well-planned tourism project/s can bridge these gaps quite quickly – that is the take-away, that is the “social impact” that can be derived from this Concept Paper.
- Creating network of Addwit Village Homes (AVHs) – micro, seasonal facilities created out of available surplus rooms in the town and homes.
- Training AVH owners to manage it semi-professionally; maintaining the local-ness.
- Creating VTPs Village Tour Packages for tourists from 20-50-100-500-1000-5000 kilometres away. (Each segment will have different expectations. Travelers from within 200 kms = for Internal Marketing and awareness creation; 200-600 km = for Regional Tourism for weekend tourism; 600-1500 kms = for Domestic Tourism, and beyond = International Tourism) – illustrated in the image below.
- The Stage-1 of the Projects can be opened to the youth on subscription model where they volunteer for certain activities on mandatory basis to get awarded with certificates and badges to boost their CVs.
- A Tourism Circuit gets established over decades, organically. It happens when all the stake-holders function in synergy – policy-makers, people, media, public-relations, local HR and education, entrepreneurs, investors…. It can be an interesting shared project spanning across many years.
- Even if there is nothing notable as a “tourist attraction”, buzz can be created around the harvesting season, local festivals and local temples, or, imagine a chess or tabla passionate getting visitors simply for a week of learning and companionship with the master expert. Even a small seasonal Village Home with 5 rooms, can get around 300 room-night business.
- Attractions can be created from – local artisans, local service providers, local cuisine, local culture, local music, local designers, local performers and alike. It may require systematic assessment with help of a social entrepreneur.
- It should be a two-way phenomenon. The energetic youth must be exposed to urban and international scenarios via exchange programs – and vice versa. This will not only reduce the thoughtless urge to migrate to urban cities, but will also strike new tourism opportunities (event tourism).
- With the help of collective thinking within the village and /or help from local and state government/s, new tourism facilities and attractions can be added.
- Coordinated and collective brand and buzz building shall see quick and directional results.
- Expert writers must keep producing interesting documentaries, coffee-table books and news / blogs and Vlogs – to keep all stakeholders engaged.
- Taking it international at the right time can be a big boost for the nation – unimaginable! It can open doors to voluminous foreign currency earning. (It must be preceded with a Strategy Paper because without adequate internal marketing and Circuit Development, it can be disastrous).
- We can adopt the “ecosystem” model like that of Silicon Valley or Hollywood where the creators, funding agencies and distributors, influencers and media come together and operate in a synergy.
Caution: The model for tourism discussed in this Concept Paper could be abused if the moral fabric of society is not established properly.
Migration, Pandemic, Tourism, Possibilities – we must connect the dots. Such projects never fall within capacity of a single individual, and require a collective purushartha.
Carefully and thoughtfully planned village tourism can make the village economy and society robust and fascinating. ‘Village’ can become a symbol of hope and completeness – one that people look forward to visiting every now and then; and may be, remain there.