Social Tourism - DOT-Maharashtra Tourism
Social Tourism is an initiative that focuses on providing economic benefits to the host community as well as the tourists.
What Is It?
Tourism is a socio-cultural event for the traveler as well as the host. The objective is to analyze and benefit from the social aspects of the impact of tourism. According to the International Social Tourism Organisation (ISTO), social tourism can be defined as "the connections and phenomena related to the participation of people in the countries of destinations as well as of holidaymakers, of disadvantaged layers of society or those unable to participate in tourism, holidays and their advantages for whatever reason".
Social Tourism stimulates employment and thus accelerates the economic activities of the destination. A certain location can also be promoted based on its festivals, architectural traditions, ancestral heritage or reforms adapted to initiate a progressive lifestyle. In an ingenious initiative taken by the Maharashtra Tourism , locations with a remarkable social change were highlighted on the travel trail. The agenda is to promote destinations that have created a mark for themselves by turning themselves into role models for the rest of the villages. Maharashtra is the third largest state in India and has a lot of untapped potential for Social Tourism. A right blend of forts, landscapes, beaches along with the strong reforms of the locals with increased social consciousness and a structured approach has accelerated this segment in the past few years. Social Tourism promotes respecting the natural and cultural environment and the local communities.
Uses To Tourists / People
Social Tourism enables discovering new destinations, cultures, civilizations by meeting people across educational or economical divides thus promoting responsible tourism. The urban population has been drawn to this segment and keen to explore the niche destinations of Maharashtra with a new perspective.
How It Benefits The Community / Tourists
Social Tourism is considered to be a shaper of the society promoting regional and local development simultaneously ensuring economic growth of the locals.
In an initiative by Maharashtra Tourism, Social Tourism was promoted to those who cannot afford to travel by themselves. The destinations that were a part of this 8-day trail were Ralegan Siddhi, Hiware Bazar and Anandvan amongst others. These villages have turned over a new leaf under the guidance of social reformers like Baba Amte and Anna Hazare. Keeping in mind the modern reforms that have been adopted by these villages, Maharashtra Tourism was keen to promote the idea to other locals and villagers enabling them to adopt a similar quest and start their journey towards being more self-sufficient and eventually a social crusader themselves. Similarly, tours to Ansarwada Sevalay Ambejogai, a rehabilitation spot for nomadic tribes and kids suffering from the HIV is a life-changing experience.