The Uttar Pradesh government tried Pro-Poor Tourism in Varanasi – an initiative that uses Tourism as a strategic tool to alleviate poverty among local communities – but for the youth, the struggle remains the same.
Be it India’s Taj Mahal, the great wall of China or the amazing wildlife of Africa, Tourism is much more than just a holiday activity. International travellers seeking authentic cultural experiences are flocking to developing countries with promising destinations, making tourism the world’s largest voluntary transfer of resources from rich people to poor people. Tourism boards of such countries are also delighted to see you bring your tourist dollars into their territory.
Impact of Tourism on the residents of Varanasi
Assi ghat, on the banks of meandering Holy Ganges, enchanting tourists, researchers and pilgrims with its rich historical significance, is where most people depend on tourism to make their living. Many local communities are trying really hard to work their way out of poverty.
Tourism accounts for nearly 10% of India’s GDP and is the third largest foreign exchange earner. One advantage of the Tourism industry is that it creates job opportunities for even unskilled workers, says Avinash Mishra, Joint Director, UP Tourism.
What’s preventing the flow of money towards vulnerable local communities?
Be that as it may, a few specialists are more disparaging, stating that tourism’s part in soothing the fear of poverty is exaggerated: that it creates only menial, occasional employment opportunities and fundamentally benefits the talented elites. ‘Pro-poor’ tourism is the prime concern of UP Tourism Policy of 2016. In any case, Mishra says that the 2016 arrangement archive has at present been put on hold.
In Varanasi, almost 50% of the international travellers choose vacation packages, for example, Thomas Cook. As such, a large number of the benefits of tourism will never reach the vulnerable residents. Independent travellers are more helpful to local communities. It is difficult to regulate private sector development, says Mishra.
Pro-Poor tourism helps developing countries improve the local economy for local people. For Avinash Mishra, joint chief of Uttar Pradesh Tourism, Pro-poor Tourism implies building abilities for those in the area.
Value chain analysis describes the full scope of activities required to bring merchandise or services from conception to completion. It helps to recognize which activity is important to the government and in deciding whether to invest in skills development, marketing or strengthen local food supply chains.
However, Government intervention has always had its own issues. Instead of promoting general economic fairness, there are chances of corruption which leaves local people no choice but adapt to the poor quality of life.
This leaves us with a few questions – is pro-poor tourism the way to go? And does it really help?