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This is the essay that I have submitted for the Incredible India essay writing competition. The topic is “What does tourism mean to me?”
Traditionally, tourism has been defined as the temporary movement of people from one area to another in search of leisure, pleasure, recreational, and business activities. While that definition is true from one perspective, tourism actually encompasses more.
From a citizen’s perspective, to me, tourism is the means by which my country can spread world-wide, the rich knowledge, about its people, its culture and tradition, and in general its past, present, and future. In return, tourism brings with it the knowledge about other cultures to my people, thereby facilitating a continuous learning process. Tourism is therefore a symbiotic relationship that helps the world to become a better place. It is then no wonder that the World Tourism Organization has adopted as part of its awareness campaign, the slogan “Tourism Enriches” and the tag line “Tourism enriches individuals, families, communities and the entire world.”
From a tourist’s perspective, to me, tourism is an adventure. Each place I visit is like a hidden treasure, waiting to be unlocked. Tourism ought to be a warm and memorable experience without the evil of excessive commercialism. Tourism involves the exuberance of discovering new things and leaving them unchanged so that future generations can experience the same. On the other hand, if there is something (be it cleanliness, infrastructure, management and policies etc.) that could be changed for the better, then one must actively advocate for such change and hope that such advice would be taken in the right perspective. It is such voicing out of opinions that makes tourism that much more meaningful.
As an example, India, with its unmatched diversity in flora and fauna, culture and tradition has the potential to become a sought after tourist destination. Archaic management policies however have failed to promote tourism in the right spirit. For instance, in several tourist destinations within India, Indians are charged lower rates compared to that charged for foreigners for the same service! Such absurdity creates a negative impact on tourism. A foreigner is after all a human being and not a visitor from another planet.
From a general perspective, tourism is also a vehicle that significantly and directly contributes to the society and to the economy of a nation. Steady growth in tourism results in more employment and business opportunities. The revenue thus generated can in turn feed the demand for infrastructure growth generated by this very increase in tourism. Tourism is therefore a catalyst for growth.
In summary, tourism in my view is a gateway to opportunity and an album of everlasting memories.
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