Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (IC) Prahlad Singh Patel and Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani inaugurated the two day event/meeting on Destination Management and Community Participation, in Gujarat today. The event has been organized by the Ministries of Tourism and Culture in cooperation with the Government of Gujarat at Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.Speaking on the occasion Shri Prahlad Singh Patel said that Kutch has emerged as unique tourist destination in Gujarat. Destination development not only develops the tourism industry but also promotes local culture, traditions & community. It was also stated that tourism development is about change in perception & policy and not only capital investment. Shri Patel also indicated that the Government of India is giving major importance to developing Dholavera as one of the Iconic destinations.The Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijay Rupani welcomed all dignitaries and referred to 2001 earthquake wherein Kutch region was totally devastated. However, with the vision of Prime Minister of India, the region of Kutch (White Rann), with its unique geography, culture and heritage has been transformed into a major tourist attraction. Shri Rupani said that this would be an ideal case study for destination management. He expressed his immense pleasure that Dholavera and Somnath have been selected for development under Iconic destination development scheme of Government of India. He also highlighted that the Statue of Unity was developed in a record time which is serving as good example of promoting Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat vision of Prime Minister.
The Tourism Minister, Government of Gujarat Shri Jawahar Chavda mentioned about various tourist attractions in the state such as wildlife, spirituality, nature, places associated with Gandhi’s life and World Tallest statue - the statue of Unity.During the inaugural event, an MOU was signed between Government of Gujarat and ITDC for providing consultancy towards innovative and decorative lightings & illumination at various monuments and Sound & Light show at various locations in the state of Gujarat.The meeting was convened to discuss the importance of Destination Management and Community Participation in the tourism sector. The event involved speaker sessions by government officials, tourism industry, private sector entrepreneurs, etc. showcasing best practices / case studies from various States & Union Territories in the related field. The meeting aided in understanding the concepts & frameworks, approaches, challenges faced in implementation and impact generated by such initiatives on the society & the overall economy. One of the major objectives was to understand the synergy between Culture and Tourism and how both can collaborate at policy, design and implementation levels to develop both tangible and intangible assets to achieve overall tourism growth in the country.The event highlighted on benefits to local communities by way of imparting skill sets necessary for prudent hospitality industry and cross-cultural learning exchanges to improve employability of the local people. Socio-economic benefits for the community could be enabled by making them lead the development initiatives. Challenges & issues related to Destination Management such as comprehensive planning, community participation, carrying capacity, etc. was discussed during the meeting.The event encouraged constructive discussions and collaboration between various stakeholders for achieving objectives of effective destination management. The key take-a ways of the discussions were the strategies and design principles for effective destination management and community participation.