Progressive Bihar - Finally the sleeping giant is waking up

Progressive Bihar - Finally the sleeping giant is waking up
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Village Tourism - Homestay

The Bihar state tourism department is planning to experiment with "Village Tourism". The plan is to develop some remote villages rich in arts and crafts as tourist destinations. The agenda would be to attract tourists who want to spend some time in villages and learn about the village traditions and skills. The plan seems to be aimed at foreign tourists in particular, as I don't know of many Indians who would want to travel to a village and stay there.

With Bihar now getting one of the highest number of foreign tourists and many foreign tourist's wanting to understand the Indian culture from up close, this might be a good option available for them. I think this might just help some rural areas to set on the path of development. However I do not know if this concept will pick up so much as to become a major tourism revenue generator. Hopefully it does, as it will provide some growth avenues in rural areas.

The concept will be tried out in 10 villages at first. These villages are those that are rich in traditional arts and crafts. The villages that have already been identified are

  1. Baswanbigha and Nepura in Nalanda - Baswanbigha is famous for "Bawanbuti" saris whereas Nepura is locally popular for "Tussar" silk.
  2. Ranti and Jitwapur in Madhubani - Famous for and known as the birthplace for Mithila paintings.
  3. Tehta in Jehanabad
  4. Patharkatti in Gaya - Famous for sculpting and has as many as 3000 people engaged in making sculptures.

The model will work as follows. The tourism department would support villagers interested in developing their homes as per defined guidelines and pay for half the amount or Rs 4 lakhs (whichever is higher) to develop their houses. At the same time these villagers would get rent from the tourists.

I am happy that tourism department is becoming creative in identifying tourists needs and developing solutions around them. I hope that this avenue of tourism does show results in the short run.

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