Culture and heritage tourism: a flourishing market

By Parthivi Joshi

In the recent times, there has been an exponential rise in globetrotters across the world. Traveling is a new found love and form of recreation amongst the masses, not restricted to any particular region. The trend of spending on experiences and not on tangible products is on a rise – and what better than traveling? While the world is coming closer, thanks to technology and accessible communication, more and more people want to leave no stone unturned when it comes to exploring.

With this, the market has seen a surge in different forms of tourism – adventure, leisure, luxury and wellness, culture and heritage, wildlife tourism and so on.  It has also seen getting in popular demand and is proving to be a boost to the tourism ecosystem.

As the name suggests, culture and heritage tourism includes visiting places of importance having a strong backdrop of history, honored through festivals and celebrations. Travelers who are keen in exploring the cultural heritage of a region often include paying a visit to museums, monuments and art galleries, culturally rich areas/pockets, a part of their itinerary. It may also include festivities, performances or parades.

India has a rich cultural heritage and this is being promoted worldwide. A four day road show was organized by the government of India showcasing the multi-faceted aspects of the country. ‘The road show reflected lot of interest among Americans to visit India and explore its various facets ranging from rich cultural and historical heritage to adventure and medical tourism,’ said Meenakshi Sharma, Director General (Tourism).

‘This is because, we understand that nowadays people would like to experience’, she added. ‘The government is developing 17 iconic tourism sites into world-class tourist destinations and to serve as a model for other tourism sites,” said Nirmala Sitharaman, in her maiden Budget speech.

“With the objective of preserving rich tribal cultural heritage, a digital repository is developed where documents, folk songs, photos and videos about their evolution, place of origin, lifestyle, architecture, education level, traditional art, folk dances and other anthropological details of the tribes in India are stored. The repository will further be enriched and strengthened,’ Sitharaman added.

The funds allocated to the tourism ministry were 2150 crores in 2018-19 and it rose to 2190 crores in 2019-20. The finance ministry has given a budget of 1379 crores to help set up the tourism infrastructure, while the budget allocation for marketing and publicity is also at an all time high pegged at 576 crores.

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