In a bid to fortify the promotion and development of Rural Tourism across the country, the Ministry of Tourism has recently introduced the National Best Tourism Village Competition 2024 and the National Best Rural Homestay Competition 2024. Building on the success of the 2023 edition, which recognized 35 villages nationwide in Gold, Silver, and Bronze categories, these competitions aim to encourage healthy competitiveness among villages and rural homestays.
To lay the groundwork for this initiative, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, rolled out a comprehensive National Strategy and Roadmap for the Development of Rural Tourism in India. This overarching strategy, coupled with the National Strategy for the Promotion of Rural Homestays, underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing the rural tourism sector. The implementation of these strategies is being carried out in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management.
Integral to the strategy is the National Best Tourism Village and National Best Rural Homestays Competition, which seeks to recognize and reward outstanding contributions to Rural Tourism. By fostering healthy competition, these initiatives incentivize communities and individuals to actively contribute to the sustainable development goals.
In an effort to create a conducive environment for the growth of Rural Tourism, the Ministry has actively engaged various stakeholders, including Governments, industry representatives, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and local communities. This multi-stakeholder approach is expected to synergize efforts and strengthen rural economies.
The competitions not only have the potential to boost tourism in lesser-explored regions but also to stimulate community involvement. By doing so, they play a pivotal role in preserving cultural authenticity and promoting sustainable and responsible practices within the tourism sector.
To oversee the effective implementation of Rural Tourism initiatives, the Ministry of Tourism has established the Central Nodal Agency Rural Tourism and Rural Homestay (CNA RT & RH). The agency is currently conducting capacity-building sessions for states to create Master Trainers, facilitating the seamless propagation of the competitions to the village level.
The launch of the competitions on World Tourism Day, September 27, 2023, marked the beginning of the application period. Interested parties can submit their applications through the official portal www.rural.tourism.gov.in, with the deadline set for December 31, 2023. These competitions stand as a testament to the government’s commitment to fostering sustainable rural development through the prism of tourism.