Madhya Pradesh is one of the most active states in the country when it comes to promoting tourism both domestically and internationally. At present, there is a need to integrate the activities of tourism with the environment in such a way that along with environmental protection, social, cultural, and economic development can be done at the local level. This was stated by the Principal Secretary, Tourism and Culture Shri Sheo Shekhar Shukla while addressing a virtual webinar organized on the theme ‘Regenerative Tourism’ on the occasion of World Environment Day. Shri Sheo Shekhar Shukla said that the world has witnessed outbreaks of many worrisome diseases in the last ten years, including deadly infections like SARS, MERS, Zika and Ebola. This is a sign that we have to pay attention to environmental protection and promotion to avoid diseases. In travel and tourism, we have to incorporate new standards and changes according to the changing world, which along with environmental protection become an agent of economic development.
Shri Shukla said that this webinar focused on the importance of taking a holistic approach towards tourism and benefitting all the stakeholders while ensuring the well-being of the environment and the local community. He pointed out that the travel and tourism sector contributes more than 7 percent to India’s GDP, so it is of paramount importance to ensure that the sector adopts sustainable practices as well as benefits local communities. Keeping this in mind, concepts like Wellness and Mindful Tourism, Cave and Rock Art Tourism, Eco-Friendly Tourism, Rural Tourism, and Agriculture Tourism are being worked on in Madhya Pradesh, along with new innovations like Rural Home Stay, Tribal Trails, etc.
All the speakers emphasized during the webinar that ‘regenerative tourism’ is part of a larger movement around the world. Because tourists are adopting a lifestyle of returning to nature and also demand from hotels to adopt eco-friendly practices. The panelists said that a different change has been seen in the mindset of tourists in the Corona times. Now every tourist wants to get back in touch with each other, community and nature, accordingly, we also have to make changes in the field of travel and tourism.
In the online webinar, eminent speakers from the field of travel, tourism and environment gave important suggestions including Dr. Harold Goodwin, Responsible Tourism Advisor WTM, Shri Pandurang Taware, Managing Director Agri Tourism Development Company, Shri Steve Borgia Chairman and MDIndeco Leisure Hotels , Director and CEO of Jahanuma Wilderness Shri Ali Rashid, Wildlife Presenter, Film Producer and Conservationist Shri Suyash Keshari. Travelers, media, hotel and resort owners, travel agents, students, environmentalists and eco and nature lovers from India and abroad also participated in the webinar online.