Dekho Apna Desh
The fool wanders, a wise man travelsThomas Fuller
National Tourism Day is celebrated on January 25 every year. It is observed to encourage tourism and bring awareness about the essential role tourism plays in the country’s growth. It also aims to create global awareness and bring attention to India’s tourist locations and its social, financial, and cultural worth.
The year when the observation of National Tourism Day was first started is not known. In 1948, a tourism traffic committee was first formed in India and in 1958, a tourism department was established. India is the 7th largest country globally, and the mountains and the sea make the country a distinct geographical entity. India is also a country where ethnicity and culture are so diverse that one can see the changes almost every kilometre.
India is one of the oldest civilisations in the world. With multicultural experiences and a rich heritage accompanied by beautiful attractions, the country is among the most popular tourist destinations in the world. India has 38 World Heritage sites as recognised by UNESCO with Jaipur being the latest entry into the list. This year, a branch of Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering (IISM) was inaugurated giving a boost to tourism at Kargil. According to the WEF report, “India has moved up six places to rank 34th on world travel and tourism country’s competitiveness”. Anestimate of The World Travel and Tourism Council puts the funds generated due to tourism at whopping ~16.9 lakh crore (9.2% of India’s GDP) and generates enormous employment. No wonder that Gods own Country (Kerala) has won the best state more than six times. India’s rank in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum stands now at 34.
The journey is the destinationDan Eldon
New trends are emerging in the way people travel and visit. Homestays over hotel rooms, workcations is a new word. Rather than checking into a hotel room, people are opting for homestays. An independent homestay with a private kitchen is preferred over a central kitchen for safety. COVID pandemic has forced many to work from home for long (it has been more than 10 months now). New trends are emerging where young people opt to work from remote areas and combine work, vacation, and tourism (workcation).
I was fortunate to live near the Mahabalipuram heritage site (Mamallapuram), known for the sculpture and monolithic temples dating back to 6th Century. It is one of the preferred destinations for many tourists. Tourism has a different angel too, pointed out by late Dr Baldev Raj. When you are down and trying to solve a difficult problem and find it difficult, visiting places like Mamallapuram could be inspiring. When our ancestors could do that many years ago, sure we can do it now. Tourism can be very motivations too.
In fact, everything you look for the world over, you would find in India. Be it the snow in the Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh region or the majestic Ganga and the beaches of the South. You think of it you would find them in India. The cultural, spiritual, and diverse traditions, one lifetime would not be sufficient to explore. Many of the Indians who migrated to far off places searching for a better quality of life invariably come back and revere this great country’s majesty. The theme of National Tourism Day this year is ‘Dekho Apna Desh‘. Yes, there is so much to see, enjoy and learn. As Samuel Johnson said, travelling is to realise.
The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they areSamuel Johnson