Tourism is a powerful engine that drives most of how a country functions, be it in an economic, cultural, social or educational sense. It creates employment, it spearheads growth champions diverse cultural heritage, and overall, improves the quality of people’s lives. While those dreamy international trips seem far off, the lucrative world of domestic travel seems to have taken a new form and #travelocal seems to be the new jam.
In keeping with this spirit, the Ministry of Tourism launched the ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ campaign shortly before the lockdown and continues to screen webinars to promote domestic tourism. Driving holidays, weekend getaways, day trips and local attractions are what will help support the local tourism economy.
There’s no doubt that earnings from tourism contribute majorly to a country’s economic status and a global pandemic can act as a slow death to this burgeoning sector. This is why states like Uttarakhand have lifted curbs on inter-district, inter-state and international travellers and allowed homestays and hotels, outside the containment zones, to open up for business. Meanwhile, Meghalaya has come out with a ‘Trip Now, Travel Later’ campaign which invokes nostalgia and fills travellers with hope. The core message of the video is to stay safe, in hopes of a better tomorrow and keep imagining when we can again travel, tell and transform.
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In a similar vein, Arunachal Pradesh has come out with a refreshing campaign called #DekhoApnaPradesh.
Arunachal isn’t just a place you see;— Arunachal Tourism (@ArunachalTsm) July 2, 2020
It’s a place you get to feel.
It’s like feeling breathe for the first time.
It is refreshing.
It is Arunachal.
DREAM NOW. EXPLORE LATER.#DekhoApnaPradesh #IncredibleIndia #NortheastIndia@PemaKhanduBJP @incredibleindia @ChownaMeinBJP pic.twitter.com/l1d8NJ37iZ
These social media promotions do work as the people who have a steady flow of income or have enough savings and a thirst for travel will find ways to make it work.
The Madhya Pradesh government has lifted all travel restrictions within the state, thereby encouraging travel to go to local destinations worth exploring. Their ‘Intezaar Aapka’ campaign highlights the fact that travellers are eager to get out of their homes with their families but preferably not very far. This is where the weekend getaways come in. The campaign promotes spots of tourist interest such as Ujjain, Panchmari, Amarkantak, Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Mandu. The MP tourism board has designed a number of safe tour packages which take care of everything from stay to the excursion. Apart from this, short weekend road trips have also been planned.
Odisha, on the other hand, is blessed with sun-kissed temples and a plethora of water bodies, rivers and lakes which make for the perfect vacation spot for a cruise. The state government is cruising with private operators to develop cruises as its next big thing and is all set to revamp its tourism sector.
Reports suggest that the first phase of the plan has been narrowed down to five destinations: Chilika Lake, Bhitarkanika, Satkosia Gorge, Hirakud, and Mahanadi. This needs to be handled carefully as many are still sceptical of getting out of their houses for long periods of time. Although this new venture comes with an addendum about the negative impact this could have on the natural environment, especially the flora and fauna of Chilika Lake and the crocodiles at Bhitarkanika, which needs to be factored in by the state tourism board.
Culture and Tourism Minister, Prahlad Singh Patel, says that the vision is to first make destinations safe enough to travel. “With this objective, we have released a set of operational guidelines for hotels and other accommodations units, restaurants and tourism service providers like tour operators, travel agents, taxi operators etc.” he adds. Wildlife destinations which offer a natural mode of social distancing are anticipated to boom along with activities like trekking, wellness retreats, mountaineering, rural tourism and other offbeat places.