G20s first Tourism Working Group Meeting

Feb 08: The 1st Tourism Working Group Meeting under G20 hosted by the Ministry of Tourism began today with a side event of a panel discussion on ‘Rural Tourism for Community Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation’. The keynote address at today’s side event was delivered by Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and DoNER Shri G.K Reddy.

The delegates were given a warm, colourful and traditional welcome which included performances by folk artists at Bhuj Airport as well as at the tent city, Dhordo, Rann of Kutch. The panel discussion was attended by representatives from Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Japan, ILO along with UNEP. From India, Representatives from the governments of Madhya Pradesh,  Gujarat and Nagaland along with OYO and  Global Himalayan Expedition participated in the discussion. Among other topics discussions and presentations were held on Women Empowerment through Homestays, Community based Eco-Tourism and The Rural Tourism model of Rann of Kutch.

Delivering the keynote address Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and DoNER Shri G.K Reddy said that it is a matter of great honour and responsibility for India to assume the G20 presidency at this critical moment when the world is facing a number of challenges.

Union Minister also highlighted the fact that India is focused on using tourism as a vehicle for achieving Sustainable Development Goals during India’s G20 Presidency. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Shri G.K Reddy said that ” The soul of India lives in its villages” and thus by showcasing our villages, the country’s way of life, the country’s spiritual and cultural heritage and the country’s natural beauty is being showcased. Shri  G.K Reddy also said that Self-reliant villages will lead to a self-reliant India.

Shri G.K Reddy said that tourism has the potential for generating a maximum number of jobs with the least investment and therefore tourism can be a positive force for economic transformation, rural development and community well-being.

Giving the example of Pochampally village in Telangana which has been declared as one of the best tourism villages by UNWTO, the Union Minister said that Indian villages are already receiving global recognition for rural tourism.

Shri G.K Reddy also stressed the fact that tourism provides a channel for Enabling the sale of local products and services, Empowering the youth to become entrepreneurs; Employing women, and disadvantaged communities such as tribals and thus leading to community empowerment and Poverty alleviation.

Union Minister informed that the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India for the first time has come up with a draft of a National strategy and roadmap for the development of  Rural Tourism which is in line with  Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji’s vision of “Self-Reliant India’’ or ‘Aatmanirbhar  Bharat’.

The panellists gave presentations and held discussions highlighting the best practices, success stories prospects, opportunities and issues in the field of Rural tourism. 

Major Highlights :

  • The main event tomorrow will be graced by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and DONER Sh. G. Kishan Reddy; Union Minister Shri Parshottam Rupala, Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, and Chief Minister of Gujarat Sh. Bhupendra Bhai Patel.
  • Travel and Tourism must not be looked upon only as a medium for discovery and pleasure but also as a lever to enable, empower and employ: Shri G.K Reddy
  • India is focused on using Tourism as a vehicle for achieving Sustainable Development Goals during India’s G20 Presidency: Shri G.K Reddy
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