India Tourism And Women Empowerment
Posted on March 31, 2018
By Chandrahas Chandra Singh
The travel preferences of today’s tourists have changed. In addition to exploring new destinations, today’s traveler is keen to interact with the local people, get to know their culture and way of living and experiencing it while on his holiday trip. With a lot of emphasis being given to women empowerment in today’s times, tourism can be used as a responsible tool to make a difference to their lives in a big way.
What is responsible tourism in any case? To put it briefly it is tourism that offers much more to the tourist in terms of knowledge enrichment by connecting him meaningfully with the local people whereby he can gain insight into their local social, environmental and cultural issues. Improving the lot of the local people by offering access to the tourism industry and building bridges between local hosts and the tourists such that the holiday vacation becomes a win-win situation for both, the tourist and the host community is at the core of responsible tourism. Several India tour packages make it a point to include a visit to the local cultural or handicraft center where the tourists can interact with the artisans. Or they also promote local home stays wherever possible. How is this related to women empowerment?
Women empowerment means ensuring that the economic, social, legal and political strength of women is enhanced, gender equality is assured and they get the required confidence to have a complete say over their life. Tourism can play a vital role in empowering women by ensuring their participation in tourism related activities either directly or in an indirect manner. Tourism necessitates the existence of good lodging and boarding facilities in spots of tourist interests. This gives good scope for ensuring the profitable running of cafeterias, restaurants, hotels, tea-stalls as well as other non-food related activities like handicrafts, travels and handlooms. Tourism is one of the industries that can reach out to women in the rural sector and give them access to transferrable skills which can help them to be engaged in respectable careers. Women can use the tourism industry as a stepping stone to get inducted into the mainstream economy and improve the quality of their life. Holidays in India especially to Rajasthan or Sikkim will show noticeable participation of women in tourist related sectors.
Women are natural care givers and excellent home-makers and these skills come of great use in the hospitality sectors. Through the support of a community tourist project women can develop good homestays or cook tasty meals for the tourists. Those who have the aptitude can join handicraft co-operatives in popular tourist centres. Tourism opens several doors to women to obtain sustainable livelihood. When women become contributors to the family income they get more respect and become empowered.
With today’s tourist undertaking travel for achieving a people connect in addition to enjoying the beauty of the scenic locales most of the India travel packages should take lead along with government institutions and other related stakeholders in promoting women participation in this sector. At the same time, awareness among women needs to be increased so that they come forward and take advantage of the opportunities that come their way.