Rural tourism is the next big thing! The government is taking cognizance of India’s heritage sites and exploring Rural Tourism – one of the areas in which India can excel easily. In the same line, for its crafts, reforms, and historical significance, the Pochampally village in Telangana has been awarded as one of the best tourism villages in the world by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
UNWTO recognizes villages across the world that are committed to the promotion and preservation of their cultural heritage and sustainable development through tourism. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Tourism had recommended & nominated three Indian villages namely
– Ladhpura Khas in Madhya Pradesh
– Kongthong village in Meghalaya
– Pochampally village in Telangana
The prestigious award will be given away on 2nd December 2021 in Madrid Spain on the occasion of the 24th session of the UNWTO General Assembly.
Union Minister For Culture, Tourism and Development Of North Eastern Region G Kishan Reddy extended his wishes to the people of Pochampally village in Telangana and said, “Pochampally’s unique weaving styles and patterns received special focus through PM Modi’s mantra of Vocal 4 Local as a part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.”
— G Kishan Reddy (@kishanreddybjp) November 16, 2021
Pochampally: The village that weaved history for India in World
Six yards of Ikkat has made it to 12,800 km around the world! Pochampally village located about 50km east of Hyderabad is known as the Ikkat capital of India. The village is famous for its handloom work that includes the delicate hand-woven ikkat saree. It is pertinent to note that the Pochampally sari also received a Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2005. Even before winning this prestigious ‘Best Tourism Village Award’, the Pochampally handloom was world-famous; the weaving cluster is listed as a tentative list of world heritage.
In addition to this, the village is also known for its rich history. It is interesting to note that the village is also known as Bhoodan Pochampally that honors the social reformer Acharya Bhave who started the Bhoodan Movement from Pochampally Village where he asked the wealthy land-owners to give up land to landless people. A two-room house where Bhave had resided during his stay at Pochampally is preserved as “Vinobha Bhave Mandir.”
By this, we come to know that the place has kept its tradition intact, a requirement of the UNWTO for the best tourism village label.
The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Label
A village that recognizes its cultural and natural assets, preserves and promotes rural and community-based values, products, lifestyle, and has committed to innovation and sustainability in all its aspects – economic, social, and environmental, will be chosen for the Best Tourism Village label.
Further, it will also receive support from UNWTO and its Partners in improving elements of the areas identified as gaps in the evaluation process. With the initiative, UNWTO is looking for the best examples of rural villages that are harnessing the power of tourism to provide opportunity and safeguard their communities, local traditions, and heritage.
Rural Tourism Project: India
To promote rural tourism in the country, the Ministry of Tourism started the rural tourism project. With this, it aims to promote domestic as well as foreign tourists and boost the socio-economic development of rural people.
Under the project, the Ministry of Tourism evaluated 107 rural tourism projects spread across all the states in India. This was done to understand the effect of rural tourism projects on the lives of the locals in the villages and to analyze if the uniqueness of the areas managed to attract tourists.
The Government of India has been taking several initiatives to boost rural tourism such as the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, the institution of national tourism award for ‘best rural/Agri/plantation tourism projects’ among several others.
Boosting rural tourism
The UNWTO’s initiative will help in identifying villages that are taking innovative and transformative approaches to tourism in rural areas in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Further, it will also contribute to reducing regional inequalities and fighting against rural depopulation.
The UNWTO award will also recognize the uniqueness of each village, which can be fruitful in boosting tourism in that village.