Tourism is one of the most significant economic contributors to a developing or a developed country. Rural tourism can be defined as the vacations to rural places in the hearts of cities and villages for the sole purpose of leisure, and for some, it can be defined as a means to connect to the place’s or the country’s authentic self.
Tourism can be briefly termed as one of the essential sources of income for many countries. We can see rapid growth in such places becoming tourist attractions, resulting in their development and employment, thus contributing to the environment’s overall transformation. With the heavy increase of tourism in rural locations, we can expect the expansion of ideas and generation of progressive life. The link of rural areas to nature and culture also provides the essence of living within the art and heritage of India. More people need to witness its serene and pristine beauty.
Benefits and the Rise of Rural Tourism
Rural tourism brings in a reasonable extent of opportunities by creating employment options for personal and business growth. It helps one learn and utilize their skills to earn a living and provides help in maintaining the existing businesses. They benefit the communities both economically as well as socially. It also enables the residents and small business owners to interact in such areas with the tourists coming in from various other parts of the world, resulting in highly enriching practices for both parties.
In about the last decade, we have seen a massive increase in international visits in the villages located in high-altitude areas of India, like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. For instance, the Mawlynnong village in Meghalaya – rural regions of the northeast has emerged as a favorite tourist destination. The clean environment in the lap of mother nature offers a mystic experience to the visitors. The famous Rajasthani villages and the Pushkar Camel Fair are on the lips of all the tourists who visit India. Spiti Valley remains the best example of how traditional and cultural values of communities can attract big crowds from around the globe to experience its deep-rooted magnificence.
One of the most significant advantages of tourism in rural areas is creating employment for the population, which results in better living standards. Villagers can provide better education for their children better, leading to more opportunities for the future generation. The demand for goods & services also increases, which helps the villages set up their businesses and generate revenue for themselves and the government.
The infrastructural development leads to a healthier lifestyle in the village. People can learn more about health and also learn more about agriculture and other activities. With the influx of tourists, the government provides funds to improve the various sectors of the village like sanitation, roads, electricity, and telecommunication. With better connectivity, villagers learn and adopt modern tools and technology.
The migration of villagers to bigger towns and cities searching for jobs and better opportunities is constantly soaring high. Due to the increase in tourism, the government creates more opportunities for the villagers in their respective homelands. As a result, it helps improve the overall lifestyle of the area. Most of the rural people earn their livings through agriculture. The income from new businesses and activities massively increase the lifestyle of the rural community.
Handicrafts and traditional art from the villages attract lots of tourists to the rural areas. To witness the cultural heritage of India, tourists from around the world visit villages to experience the real essence of India. It is rightly said that the villages and such towns of India are still connected to the authentic culture of the land. Villages still practice many old traditions and activities like bullock cart racing in Punjab or Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. Therefore, offering our culture to the world from the roots of our tradition is one of the biggest perks that tourism in rural areas offers.
Problems and Negative Impacts
Though there are numerous benefits and positive impacts of rural tourism in India, there are things on the other hand that needs to be considered. Many villages do not want interference of foreign culture in their community. This can lead to disharmony amongst them. Thus, affecting the cultural practices and even agricultural activities. Heavy modernization can affect the traditional values of the area. People start shifting towards the tourism business, leaving traditional business or agricultural activities asides.
Another major challenge is the protection of the environment and natural resources. Sometimes, villagers do not voluntarily accept these movements of outsiders and their exercise over the former’s resources for touristic benefits. The governing bodies must establish a proper understanding of the localities and their cultural, natural, and traditional characteristics before opening it for tourists.
Due to the lack of knowledge about tourism and business expertise, local people can also face exploitation by outsiders who try to settle in their villages to establish their business. Previously, there have been incidents of an increasing crime rate due to the welcoming of tourists in rural areas. Tourists who do not respect or understand the culture of a community and the residents who do not welcome tourists are both problems that can create unrest in the villages.
Infrastructural development can also destroy the purity and serenity of the villages. Communities filled with the hustle and bustle can get affected due to the influence of other cultures, leaving an impact on the place. Apart from the increase in pollution in the villages, too much tourism also affects the area’s natural habitat. The requirement of luxury items might change the town’s existing dynamic, resulting in the obstruction to the culture of the community.
When the government ensures that adequate measures are taken care of at the utmost priority, Rural Tourism can be considered beneficial – not just for the villages but also for the visitors coming in from all across the globe. With increasing tourism in rural India, various job opportunities open up, thus offering a better lifestyle. With the introduction of technology and modernization, rural areas have become relatively comfortable destinations for tourists, most definitely, keeping in mind the cultural integrity and their responsibility.