BANGALORE: “The rural tourism industry has immense untapped potential, it can attract a considerable amount of tourists both domestic and international,” said H T Ratnakar, Public Relations Officer, Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC). Speaking at the 5th One-day National Tourism Seminar on ‘Rural Tourism in India : Opportunities and Challenges’ organised by the Master of Tourism Administration department at S Nijalingappa College, here on Saturday, he said, “One must spend considerable amount of time at an ethnic village if one has to capture the true colours of Indian culture”.
The tourism industry, which was a one sided movement of urbanites and elites, took a different turn after the tourism department came up with the Karnataka Darshan, Bharath Darshan and overseas visit for the underprivileged.
As many as 36,000 underprivileged students are taken around the state and country every year and few farmers were taken to Israel and China.
Managing Consultant at CMR Institute of technology, Badrinath Dutta said, “Indian tourism contributes 6.3 per cent to GDP and 8.78 per cent towards employment generation and the growth of Indian tourism is at 9.4 per cent which is a healthy growth. By the end of the 12th five year plan, Indian tourism would have contributed 1 per cent to the world tourism.”
Dutta took examples of Singapore, Malaysia and Macau, to show how nations thrive on tourism revenue, even when they lack natural resources that is in India. The seminar focused on strategies to develop rural tourism and the role of homestay in promoting it.