New Delhi, 27th September,2020 – The 2020 edition of World Tourism day, has been delegated with the theme of , ‘Tourism and Rural Development’ by UN World Tourism Organization. The idea is to broadcast and celebrate the unique role that tourism plays in our ecosystem. The sector’s unique ability to drive economic development and create opportunities beyond metropolitans, especially to those communities which would otherwise be left behind, and its role in preserving and promoting our rich cultural heritage globally, will be particularly celebrated this year. More locally, within our country, we see the future of hospitality and tourism in the post-COVID-19 era, as a promising road ahead both, in the urban and rural sectors- especially for women.
In perceiving Tourism as a window of opportunities for rural areas particularly, Jahnabi Phookan, National President of FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) very aptly states, “The beauty of the tourism industry is that it enables you to convert your passion and hobbies into an advantage that can be an applied skill-set in the tourism industry and it helps women to unlock their potential in anything of their choosing.”
The tourism Industry had buckled this year due to the fury of the virus, which is yet to be abated. However, with more care and concern for hygiene, a host of tourist destinations are beginning to ease their restrictions; travel enthusiasts are tiptoeing back outside, masks firmly on. So, while the Tourism Industry is slowly limping back to normalcy, it is also creating fertile grounds for women who wish to participate in this sector. Being a human resource-intensive industry, it involves various actors, enterprises and establishments working together in the value chain. This brings in vast opportunities for women to enter the world of hospitality and tourism now. Sanjeeva Shivesh, Founder and CEO of The Entrepreneurship School, in support of this view states, “Travel industry is extremely gender neutral – it is a services business where women can shine – if only we do away with our mental block. With some more government support, the process of including women in the tourism sector can be accelerated.”
The Indian tourism sector has the potential to drive economic growth, which is the need of the hour. It can add a substantial percentage of growth to India’s GDP by the year 2025, simultaneously uplifting the position of women belonging to the financially weaker strata of society, by providing them with sustainable, dignified employment. Therefore, considering the colossal amount of capacity the industry holds for women, Ms. Parbati Bhattacharya, Director of ‘Wanderers’ Footprints Travel Boutique’ advises women entrepreneurs aspiring to take the plunge, “To weigh the situation and think out-of-the-box in order to sustain themselves in the industry. Gone are the days of package tours and group tours. One must now think of safe and innovative ways of spending a holiday.”