New Delhi: Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (IC), Prahlad Singh Patel, and Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani inaugurated the two-day event on Destination Management and Community Participation, in Gujarat, on 13 February. The event has been organized by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with the Government of Gujarat, at Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.
Speaking on the occasion, Patel said that Kutch has emerged as a unique tourist destination in Gujarat, and destination development not only develops the tourism industry but also promotes local tradition & culture.
It was also stated that tourism development is about change in perception & policy and not only capital investment. Patel also indicated that the Government of India is giving major importance to developing Dholavira as one of the iconic destinations in Gujarat.
CM Rupani welcomed all dignitaries. He spoke about the perils of the 2001 earthquake wherein the Kutch region was totally destroyed. However, with the vision of Prime Minister Modi, the region of Kutch (White Rann), with its unique geography, culture and heritage has been transformed into a major tourist attraction, Rupani informed.
Rupani further said that this would be an ideal case study for destination management. He expressed his immense pleasure that Dholavira and Somnath have been selected for development under the iconic destination development scheme of the Government of India.
Rupani also highlighted that the Statue of Unity was developed in a record time which has served as a good example of promoting Modi’s vision ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ vision.
The Tourism Minister, Government of Gujarat, Jawahar Chavda spoke about various tourist attractions in the state such as wildlife, spirituality, nature, places associated with Gandhi’s life and the Statue of Unity.
During the inaugural event, an MoU was signed between the Government of Gujarat and the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) for providing consultancy towards innovative and decorative lightings & illumination at various monuments and light and sound shows at various locations in the state of Gujarat.
The event involved speaker sessions by government officials, tourism industry members, and private sector entrepreneurs showcasing best practices/case studies from various States & Union Territories in the related field. The meeting aided in understanding the concepts & frameworks, approaches, challenges faced in implementation and impact generated by such initiatives on the society and the overall economy.
One of the major objectives was to understand the synergy between culture and tourism and how both can collaborate at policy, design and implementation levels to develop both tangible and intangible assets to achieve overall tourism growth in the country.
The event highlighted the benefits of tourism to local communities by way of imparting skill sets necessary for the prudent hospitality industry and cross-cultural learning exchanges to improve employability of the local people. Socio-economic benefits for the community could be enabled by making them lead the development initiatives. Challenges and issues related to destination management such as comprehensive planning, community participation, carrying capacity, and other issues were discussed during the meeting.
The event encouraged constructive discussions and collaboration between various stakeholders for achieving objectives of effective destination management. The key take-aways of the discussions were the strategies and design principles for effective destination management and community participation.