Land of all Seasons:
India is the current tourism hot spot. The other epithets used while referring to the nation include ‘Destination of the Millennium’ and ‘Land of All Seasons’. Spanning an area of 3,287,263 square kilometers, India is a vast country and includes dry desert areas, evergreen forests, snowy Himalayas, a long coast, and fertile plains.The natural beauty and cultural diversity of the place echoes a rich tradition. India flaunts with equal grandeur bays and beaches, deserts and mountains, enigmatic green valleys and backwaters. There exists in India a comfortable juxtaposition of contrasts- the existence of bustling haats and swanky malls, emergence of nuclear families but a reluctance to let go on the joint family system, a rush to embrace modernity yet a firm resolve to preserve traditions; destination for both ayurveda and modern medical tourism; bustling communities and indigenous tribes.
India has a rich heritage and culture of warm hospitality. In India it is believed that honouring guests equals to honouring God. A guest is welcomed into our home and hearth with cheerful gratitude. The Sanskrit adage ‘atithi devo bhava’ dictates the respect granted to guests in India. This wonderful tradition of our country has become the unique selling point of the modern tourism industry. Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has pioneered an initiative that will help tap into the full potential of tourism in India. Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has introduced “Atithi Devo Bhavah Program”- a nation wide campaign that aims at sensitizing key stakeholders towards tourists, through a process of training and orientation. The endeavour is to boost tourism in India, which in turn would act as a catalyst for India’s economic growth.
The ‘Incredible India’ Campaign has been launched to create awareness about the effects of tourism and sensitizing people about preservation of our rich heritage and culture, cleanliness and warm hospitality. It also re-instills a sense of responsibility towards tourists and reinforces the confidence of foreign tourists towards India as a preferred holiday destination.
Some points prepared by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Part -1:
‘Guest Is God – Atithi Devo Bhavah’
As the old saying goes, “Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.” That is the essence of Atithi Devo Bhavah campaign. And for that to happen, we need to change our attitude towards tourists. Some of us have lost touch with the hospitality that we were famous for. Let us bring that warmth back. Let us truly embrace the spirit of Atithi Devo Bhavah.
WHY ATITHI DEVO BHAVAH? : Last year we had 3.3 million visitors, but when you consider that Singapore gets 7 million a year, Thailand 9.6 million a year and Malaysia 11.5 million, it is a small number. There is no reason why we can’t aim to increase our numbers by 100%. And that too would be just a beginning. However to do this we need to change our attitude towards those who visit us. Often tourists are mistreated, cheated and rudely dealt with. It is simple logic: if someone in a house is rude to you, as a guest, you don’t encourage your friends and relations to go there. This is perhaps the reason why, in spite of an incredible wealth of tourist spots, cultural attractions, natural wonders and destinations for the soul, India still isn’t amongst the top 15 tourist destinations of the world. The time has definitely come to get together to change this.
INSPIRATION BEHIND ATITHI DEVO BHAVAH ? : Respect has always been an integral part of the Indian soul. From time immemorial we have always respected our teachers, our elders, our parents and our guests. Perhaps this is why a great Indian Emperor once observed-‘In Hindustan our manner is very respectful and our hearts are always open’. In many ways, at that time India was the ultimate destination for the enlightened travellers. Now, thousands of years later, we can when bring that golden age back again. This inspired us to go back to those years, when Indian hospitality set the standard for the world. And we found the keystone of what we want to do ,
Or guest is blessed, Our visitor is God. That was how we arrived at our mission called ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’.
To be continued………………