One of the markets affected by social tourism are the stakeholders that are involved in tourism promotion and development. They include policy makers such as the government, the public, private sector and the non-governmental bodies. The Ministry of Tourism is ran at the government level which is responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies and programs for the development of tourism within the country.
Three distinct areas that the government has played a significant role is through the use of schemes, policies and developments aimed at rural and accessibility tourism and employee holidays which are all directly related to uplifting the well-being of the community (Verma, 2015; The Organization, 2015). The 12th Five year plan of the Government of India (2012-2017) which is still under drafting aims to bring the growth rate at 8% through sectors like the tourism sector. This pro-poor tourism policy, acts as a working strategy for poverty reduction and marked as a radical shift in tourism policies. The main goal here was on the participation of rural poor in rural tourism projects which would maximize their income levels (Government of India, 2011).
Rural tourism is an activity that takes place in the villages of India that aims to showcase the rural like art, culture and heritage which benefits the local community economically and socially. This development is crucial for the government and other regulatory bodies as rural development can serve as a solid platform for the country whereby almost 74% of the population resides in villages with less than 10% having salaried jobs. This ongoing trend of rural tourism in India has been fostered by the growing popularity and interest in its heritage and culture (Nagaraju & Chandrashekara, 2014; Katyal, 2015).
The Ministry of Tourism collaborated with the United Nations Development programme (UNDP) to launch the Endogenous Tourism project in 2004, which is directly linked to the existing rural tourism scheme of the government. The scheme was initiated with the idea that selected village destinations could be developed and promoted (through the ‘incredible India’ marketing campaign) as a popular tourist segment (Balasubramaniam, 2008). The scheme involved the selection of 36 rural sites such as Rajasthan to be used as rural destination development pilot projects (Wharton, 2009). T
he government’s role involves funding infrastructure development and so far, existing 153 rural tourism projects in a number of states have been sanctioned by the Ministry of tourism (Nagaraju & Chandrashekara, 2014). The aim of this scheme was purely to aid in poverty eradication using rural tourism as a vehicle for the stimulation of economic activities around tourism by giving tourists the opportunity to explore the underdeveloped parts of India (Duttagupta, 2016).
- Abhyankar, A. and Dalvie, S. (2013) ‘Review of Integrative Business and Economics Research’, Growth Potential of the Domestic and International Tourism in India, 2(1).
- Anusha (2014) Rural tourism – 10 destinations in India. Available at: http://www.nativeplanet.com (Accessed: 29 April 2016).