BHOPAL: The emulation of Kerala’s ‘Responsible Tourism’ by Madhya Pradesh has raised the hopes of employment generation in and around tourist spots of the state. After signing an MoU with the Kerala government earlier, a special session on ‘Responsible Tourism’ is being organised at the Chhatrasal Convention Centre, in Khajuraho, which was inaugurated on Friday.
The ministry of tourism, Government of India, as a precursor to the MICE Roadshow, ‘Meet in India’, has organised the special session on ‘Responsible Tourism’ at Khajuraho. The session focused on discussing various initiatives to position Khajuraho as an iconic destination and various successful case studies and best practices on ‘Responsible Tourism’ across the country were presented.
4 projects for Rs 350.26 crore: The secretary, tourism, said that the Union ministry had sanctioned four projects for Rs 350.26 crore in Madhya Pradesh. These projects have been sanctioned under the Wildlife, Buddhist, Heritage and Eco-Tourism circuits. The project sanctioned under the ‘Heritage Circuit’ includes interventions for Rs 44.99 crore in Khajuraho and it surroundings, out of which Rs 34.99 crore has been sanctioned by the ministry of tourism for the development of a Convention Centre at Khajuraho.
The ministry of tourism has also framed a ‘Development of Iconic Tourist Destinations Scheme’, a central sector scheme for the development of 19 identified iconic destinations in the country following a holistic approach. A total of 19 sites have been identified as iconic sites, which include Khajuraho. The ministry has identified these sites on the basis of existing footfalls, regional distribution, potential for development and showcasing as world-class destination and ease of implementation.
Decrease in footfall at Khajuraho worries all
There has been a considerable decrease of visitors to the international heritage site. Although the recent decrease could be attributed to the Covid pandemic, a gradual decrease in the number of foreign visitors is a major cause of concern.
In 2014-’15, the number of foreign visitors stood at 71,307, which has come down to a mere 100 in 2020-’21. The latest figures of 2020-’21 could be justified, but, even earlier, in 2019-’20, there were only 41,191 foreign visitors.
Tourism industry experts attribute the fall in the number of foreign visitors to the bad connectivity of Khajuraho. Its air connectivity, besides rail and road, are not favourable for international tourists.