Rural tourism: the best way to restore autonomy to small towns

Avatar photo

In India this week, a side event to the G20 was held on the contribution of rural tourism to community development and poverty reduction. UNWTO presented its recently launched program on tourism for rural development, including the ‘Best Tourism Villages’ initiative.

Too bad that at the same time, the Indian federal government has launched a huge operation to demolish homes and businesses in New Delhi, throwing hundreds of families on the street overnight, to make room in an area that must accommodate events of the G20, chaired this year by India.

The side event was an opportunity to highlight the opportunities for rural tourism presented by new consumer behaviors and growing interest in new destinations.

The meeting also addressed the main challenges for the sector, in particular concerning digital and non-digital infrastructure, empowerment of local populations and acquisition of skills. The submissions presented were the result of an analysis of more than 200 nominations submitted by villages around the world as part of the Best Tourism Villages initiative. as well as the priorities and policies of UNWTO Member States.

Representatives from Indonesia, Spain, Italy and Japan joined UNWTO, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the South Asia Women’s Network (SWAN) to discuss how tourism policies can foster tourism’s contribution to rural development.

Participants stressed that, to ensure the sustainability of tourism in rural areas, there is a need to adopt and apply a comprehensive planning strategy covering a plurality of interventions and involving multiple stakeholders. It was also noted that rural tourism must receive support from regional and local authorities, the private sector, professional associations, civil society, populations and tourists.

In 2021, considering the immense potential of rural tourism in the country, the Ministry of Tourism of India has formulated a national strategy and roadmap for the development of rural tourism.

Accordingly, examples of rural tourism in India were also showcased during the meeting, including examples of astrotourism, homestays and women’s empowerment and the case of the Indian village of Khonoma, Nagaland. , selected by UNWTO to participate in the ‘Best Tourism Villages’ upgrade program.

Rural, community, solidarity tourism is a form of travel in the making that we have set up in Madagascar.

It is through this that tourism can be a real tool for development while being well aware that the term business must be absent from this form of travel.

A good hearer 🙂

Catherine Mills Avatar