Rajasthan gears up to promote tourism in undiscovered destinations in the state.
Creating opportunity or opening up Pandora’s Box?
The Expansion of Rajasthan Cultural Heritage Tourism
The home state of India’s royalty, Rajasthan, is a huge tourist draw for its old heritage structures, palaces and other sites, so it’s seems a good idea to utilised this already rich source of income to help create more regional dispersal as an economic driver for more remote communities. But is it?
Recently the Rajasthan government launcheda plan to focus on developing tourism in lesser-known parts of the state, including villages and small hamlets that are rich with historical and cultural treasures.
To accomplish this objective in a speedy and cost-effective way, the state government has devised a scheme designed to increase tourism awareness of these previously unknown sites as a means of boosting employment opportunities in rural areas.
The creation ofnew road signage listingthese heritage structures and monuments is already underway. The idea being that they willattract tourists as they make their way to and from other more better known sites in the state.
The problem with this idea, however, it the impact this could have on communities that have no previous experience or understanding of tourism. As we’ve seen in many other places, this type of initiative has the potential to cause catastrophic damage to the very communities they are trying to helpunless the plan in question is robust and clearly understood by all stakeholders and the communities they are set to impact. In addition to this, the potential for exploitation of localswho may have access or ownership of some of these historical sites is a practice we see all too oftenand one that needs to be stamped out before it’s begun.
I would advocate, therefore,that the local government responsible for this new initiative take time to think this through thoroughly and put all the check and balances in place to protect the communities and custodians of these amazing historical assets. After all, without the necessary protections in placethey run the risk of killing the very goose that could potentially lay the golden egg.
Don’t get me wrong. I congratulate those who see the value in expanding their tourism reach and showcasing these unique historical sites asa means of creating jobs and sustainable income for those involved. Incentives that serve to improve social conditions and cultural pride. My concern is that you only get one chance to do it right. Too often we’ve seen good intentions turn into nightmares due to a lack of planning and appreciation for the complexities of tourism development especially in fragile areas such as this.
The reality is…take a wrong turn… and there’s no going back!
Read more at Times Of India