Tourism is both an economic and a social phenomenon which enables people to get acquainted with the heritage, culture, traditions, language and lifestyle of the local communities. It’s a social mechanism which liberalises the mind and help people to strengthen the relationship promoting peace, harmony, international knowledge and co-operation. In today’s context, economic importance of tourism can by no means be underestimated. The tourism sector has experienced continued growth making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. The business volumes of tourism are even surpassing that of the oil exports, food products or automobiles. Gone are the days, when travelling was limited to the affluent class, rather the improvement of transport and communication systems has made tourism attractive for majority of the people.
The theme for the World Tourism Day 2016 – ‘Tourism For All – Promoting Universal Accessibility’ is reflective of the thought that humans need to create environments which cater to the needs of all, whether they are traveling or staying at home. The World Tourism Day celebrations commenced in the year 1980 after the UNGA passed a resolution to observe it on 27th September every year. This year’s theme propagates the idea that humans at some point in their life will benefit from universal accessibility in tourism. The efforts to make this planet a better place to live in, cannot be achieved if travelling remains a difficult process for many.
Inclusive development is one of the major aspects of the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ that we have already embarked upon. But, 15% of the world population, i.e. 1 billion people are living with some form of disability who might not be enjoying the privilege of knowing other cultures, experience nature at its fullest and also experience the thrill of beginning new explorations. Therefore, accessibility should become the center of tourism policies and business strategies, not only because of inclusive development but also for greater market opportunities.
For India, tourism is a priority sector for the government and through its flagship campaign #IncredibleIndia it continues to promote India’s rich heritage, cultures, traditions, landscapes etc. As per the World Travel and Tourism Council, the sector contributed $120 billion i.e. 6.3 per cent to India’s GDP, which supported 3.7 crore jobs. This is the reason why Government of India is focused on development of tourism circuits and also improving accessibility and facilities in the remotest areas. Eco-tourism, rural tourism and offbeat experiences are also being focused to create employment opportunities in the remotest villages of the country. Through such initiatives the government along with private players is not only highlighting the importance of preserving the culture, nature and heritage of the country, but also engaging the local communities in doing the same.
Fiinovation has always been associated with the causes which help to protect the environment as well as promote livelihood opportunities. Aligning with the same, Fiinovation urges corporations to contribute towards development of the tourism sector. CSR contributions for conservation of the environment, wildlife and heritage monuments will be definitely beneficial for the future generations as well. It is expected that all stakeholders in future will promote accessibility for all in the physical environment, in transport systems, in public facilities and services and in information and communication mediums.
Let us all have a future full of enriching and captivating travel experiences.
Traveling leaves you speechless, then you turn into a storyteller.
By – Rahul Choudhury
Media & Communications, Fiinovation