Tourism a Powerful Tool for Achieving Economic Growth- IGBP

Tourism , Powerful ,Tool , Economic Growth, IGBP , pattnaik
Tourism , Powerful ,Tool , Economic Growth, IGBP , pattnaik

Tourism is the ‘world’s biggest and fastest growing industry. It is a powerful tool for achieving overall economic growth of the region, state & country. It has grown rapidly and almost continuously over the last 20 years, and the World Tourism Organization reports it to be one of the world’s most important sources of employment generation and of Gross Domestic Product. Dr. Jagannath Patnaik, Vice Chancellor, Kalinga University and President Indo Global Business Park (IGBP), strongly feels that Sustainable tourism does not simply happen, it requires an overall strategy and detailed planning, with a host of supporting mechanisms including public-private partnerships, appropriate legislative and institutional reforms, training and public education, infrastructure and technology, finance and credit systems that reach down to the poor, and continued monitoring and evaluation.

He further said that Tourism is a complex, multi-faceted, and can be woven into many different objectives and strategies, from economic growth to poverty reduction to global health to natural resources protection and management. He also stated that wisely planned strategy has the capacity to reduce poverty, stimulate locally-retained economic growth and improve livelihoods.

He also warned that badly planned strategy can be extremely destructive to its surrounding environment. With an integrated strategy, comprehensive planning and participation by all levels of community, tourism is capable of accomplishing many worthwhile and needed objectives. However, still better ways need to be developed to ensure that tourism is, in fact, “sustainable”. Dr. Patnaik however stressed that the Tourism sector must act as a catalyst for other development, and not an end in itself. Over-dependence on any single industry may be equally as risky to a local economy as any other mono-activity, especially in today’s liberalized world economy. He also suggested that Tourism industry needs a strategy to be implemented through a cluster approach for competitiveness keeping in mind the following initiatives:

a) Improve the tourism product mix: the proposed product mix include: i. Ecotourism ii. Medical tourism iii. Global peace tourism iv. Heritage tourism v. Religious tourism vi. Agriculture tourism vii. Adventure tourism

b) Upgrade tourism offerings: upgrading means improvement of the product mix by value addition

c) Modernize tourism organizations: Encourage public- private partnership in tourism set up. Internet portal to stimulate destination marketing, training & educating tourism organization.

d) Reform the policy environment: All policies that effect the tourism industry must review & reform their policies:

i. Civil aviation

ii. Reforms in tourism related infrastructure.

iii. Environment protection.

Dr. Patnaik also stated that Kalinga University and Indo Global business Park would assist Government of Odisha and other state governments in developing a high class sector-tourism based on the strength of potential states as a model demonstration Pilot project through a Cluster approach. Tourism cluster will need active collaboration of different stakeholders towards building a consensus for action to achieve agreed objectives.

This type of development projects will include flagship projects such as visitor centre & museum incorporating some multimedia shows on tourism, development of information system based on database including the wireless tourist information system.

Dr. Patnaik further disclosed that Kalinga University can act as a resource Centre for providing technical support, mentoring services for implementation of the projects mentioned above to boost the tourism industry to its new heights; however state governments must avail of these opportunities in the overall economic development and growth of respective state. He further suggested that Government should continue to encourage and support public-private partnerships whenever and wherever feasible. Not only do they increase the level of funding available, but they also increase the level of expertise that can be brought to a project.

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