India has come up with a draft national policy and a roadmap for the development of rural tourism, said Union Tourism Minister G.K. Reddy at Tent City, Dhordo in the border district Kutch in Gujarat on Tuesday. He was speaking at an event on the sidelines of 'Rural tourism for community empowerment and poverty alleviation', a programme organised as part of G20's Tourism Working Group's first meeting.
More than 100 delegates from G20 countries, representatives from the countries invited by India, and representatives of organisations like UNEP are part of the meeting.
They were given a traditional welcome at the Bhuj Airport. They were taken to the Tent City in six luxury buses, from the airport. Entry for the visitors in the Tent City and the White Rann, on the fringes of which the Tent City is located, has been closed for three days, and security has been beefed up in the area.
The minister said the strategy and the roadmap are in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a 'self-reliant India'.
The minister said India is focused on using tourism as a vehicle for achieving sustainable development goals during India's G20 presidency.
Of the 200 events that are to be organised during India's G20 presidency, 16 will be held in Gujarat. The current event is the second in the series.
The minister quoted M.K. Gandhi and said the soul of India lives in villages. Reddy emphasised that self-reliant villages will lead to a self-reliant India.
He observed that tourism has the potential to generate the maximum number of jobs and hence it can be a positive force for economic transformation, rural development, and community well-being.
Reddy pointed out that tourism helps to sell local products and services and, helps youth and women to become entrepreneurs, leading to poverty alleviation.
Success stories and best practices were shared.
Later, artists of Gujarat enthralled the guests with performances right in the middle of the White Rann where a huge temporary structure has been set up for the event.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel hosted the dinner for the delegates in the White Rann.
On Wednesday, there will be a formal inaugural function to be attended by Union Fisheries and Animal Husbandry Minister Purshottam Rupala, who hails from Gujarat.