Rural tourism is the next big thing! The government is taking cognisance of India’s heritage sites and exploring Rural Tourism – one of the areas in which India can excel easily. In the same line, the first tourist village ‘Zoogu-Khairan’ in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam was inaugurated on 13th November 2021. The occasion marks a new beginning for the socio-economic upliftment of the area. While inaugurating the village, District development commissioner Shahbaz Ahmed Mirza said that the area has vast potential to emerge as a new tourist destination.
The Zoogu-Kharian Village has been brought on a tourism map and will lead to shaping the future of the village by opening various prospects in varied fields.The tourism not only aid in boosting local economy but it will also set out to provide employment and additional income to local communities while enhancing India’s bouquet of tourist attractions.
During the inauguration of the tourist village in Jammu & Kashmir, the DDC conveyed that due to this initiative, the issues including improvement of roads, improvement in water supply, implementation of welfare schemes, improvement in health infrastructure facilities and others would eventually be addressed.
Rural Tourism is not only beneficial for the village and the local community but this also serves tourists who get to explore local cultural specialties, types, and processes of local food, dress, dialect, customs, traditions, local means of transport, jewelry, makeup songs, music, musical instruments, dance, painting, etc.
Indian Villages at the radar for mainstream tourist itinerary:
It is pertinent to note that over 74% of Indians reside in villages and many of India’s traditional craftsmen live in rural areas. Initially in terms of tourism, villages got marginal attraction, but with a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the government of India, the villages of India are aimed to be at the mainstream tourist itinerary. In September this year, three Indian villages including Madhya Pradesh’s Ladhpura Khas, Meghalaya’s Kongthong village, and Telangana’s Pochampally were nominated for the ‘Best Tourism Village’ category in the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) award.
In the UNDP programme to promote Rural Tourism in India, most of the villages are selected on the basis that the village is known for a unique craft or art form.