Thursday, November 15, 2018; The Ministry of Tourism, Govt .of India had sponsored a three-day International Conference on Rurality, Ruralism and Rural Tourism: Challenges and Coping Strategies, organised by The Department of Tourism & Hospitality Management (DTHM), Jamia Millia Islamia(JMI).

The Conference had a grand opening at the Faculty of Engineering Auditorium with the recitation of The Holy Quran and was followed by the welcome address of the Guests and dignitaries from eminent institutes from every nook and cranny of India and more from twenty five countries abroad.

Mr. Vinod Zutshi, ex-Secy., Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, presided over as the Guest of Honour while Mr. Nagesh Singh, ex-Addn.Secy., Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India was the keynote speaker, the chair also featured Prof. Wahajuddin Alvi, Dean, Faculty of Humanities & Languages, JMI; Mr A.P. Siddiqui, Registrar, JMI and Prof. NimitChowdhary, HOD, DTHM, JMI.

The Conference was initially addressed by Prof. Wahajuddin Alvi, who extended a warm welcome to all on behalf of the Faculty of Humanities & Languages and Jamia MIillia Islamia, it was followed by Prof. Nimit Chowdhary who talked about the topic and the history and achievements of the DTHM, JMI. He even proudly claimed of organising an absolute Green Conference with no use of Plastic or Artificial Materials as it was visible with the Venue being decorated with natural flowers and the guests who were presented with plants sending out the message of Go Green, even the name cards and banners avoided the use of plastic or flex and were rather manually designed and used eco-friendly materials.

Unveiling of the Brochure by the guest(s)
Pic Credit(s): Shah Ali Faisal

The Key-note speaker Mr. Nagesh Singh delivered a speech emphasizing the initiatives and measures taken by the Ministry of Rural Development, providing a graphical and statistical view and how collective and inter-ministry action plan can contribute significantly to the development of Rural Tourism and Rural India as a whole.

Mr. Vinod Zutshi presented some remarkable comments praising the initiative and congratulating the organisers for the setup inter-alia how rural tourism is important as he claims it to be ‘Pro-poor, pro-nation, pro-GDP and more inclusive’ and Mr. A.P. Siddiqui gave a consumer or a tourist’s viewpoint on the topic.

The guests also marked the launching of the book ‘Tour Leadership & Management’ by Shailja Sharma & Nimit Chowdhary and it was followed by the Vote of Thanks  by Organising  Secy. Dr.  Vinod Kumar Dev , DTHM, JMI presenting tokens of gratitude to the esteemed guests, which were also wood-crafted rather using any plastic or fibre, as apart of the initiative of a Green Conference.

The day preceded further with a high-tea at the Jamia Village designed especially for the conference to serve the dual purpose of an ethnic & eco-friendly touch to the event, where the guests were presented with savouring indigenous delicacies.

Delegates enjoying the High-Tea at The Jamia Village
Pic Credit: Mohd.Danish

 The Plenary session comprised of a distinguished panel to discuss the topic of Ruralism, Rurality& Rural Tourism and present their perspectives, where Prof. Tanja Mihalicfrom the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia talked about Sustainability &global rural tourism, Steve Borgia, Founder of Indeco Leisure Hotels talked about Rural emotions and that Rural Tourism is not social but it can be a great business idea as well and Rashmi Sawant from the Culture Aangan, Jaipur brings attention to the rural community development. Sudhir Sahi, UNDP consultant forThe Govt. of India served as the chairperson for the session and Rohan Bhallafrom DTHM, JMI took charge as the moderator.

The evening marked the presentation of a cultural programcalled ‘Virasat-e-Hind’ at the Safdar Hashmi Amphitheatre which was embellishedagain with vibrant paper crafts, natural fabrics stretched across the venue,paper kites, strings, bejewelled umbrellas, paperwheels, Colourful pots anddiyas made of clay, with no use of plastic here either maintaining the decorumof a Green Conference.

Pic Credit(s): Mohd. Danish

 The venue witnessedthe glimpses of India’s Cultural Diversity, with representation of folk dancesfrom various parts of the country from west to northeast and the southern part,with melodies of Sarangi to complement, overall providing a vista of the richethnicity of our country.

Cultural Dance at Virasat-e-Hind
Pic Credit: Mohd. Danish 

The day one was marked with valediction with a dinner by the Vice Chancellor at the Nehru house, and thus the initial session came to an end.


Friday, November 16, 2018: The second day of the International Conference on Rurality, Ruralism and Rural Tourism: Challenges and Coping Strategies, organised by The Department of Tourism & Hospitality Management (DTHM), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India began on an informative and an extremely insightful note.

The Technical Session 1 (a) on Rural tourism governance and community stake, was arranged to take place in the Mir Anas Hall, in the Dayar-e-Mir Taqi Mir building. It was chaired by Prof. Monika Prakash, Nodal Officer, Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, Noida. The session offered insights on the scope and challenges of Rural tourism in Bangladesh as well as development of Rural Tourism in the Lake Skadar National Park, in the state of Montenegro. Jasmine Z. R. Rashid-Radha, talked of the role of digitisation in the promotion of Rural Heritage. The role of women in Rural Tourism was also touched upon in the session that came to an end with the chairperson’s address.

The Technical Session 1 (b) on Rural Tourism governance and communitystake, that was organised simultaneously in the same building’s Tagore Hallwas chaired by Prof. Mohinder Chand,Chairman, Dept. of Tourism & Hotel Management, Kurukshetra University.The session consisted of eight speakers in total. Papers were presented byDominika Hagarova, from Teach for Slovakia, Avijit Ghosh, Saadia Siddiqui,Rakesh Dani and Dr. Shahnawaz Ahmad Dar. Rashmi Ranjan Choudhury highlightedhow rural tourism could be explored through the travel blogger’s prospective. Followinga round of questions, the session came to a close with the chairperson and theco-chairperson’s Prof. Devesh Nigam’saddress. The house dispersed for Lunch at Nehru Guest House, where variousdelicacies were served to the guests and the delegates.

Ongoing Technical Session
Pic Credit(s): Shah Ali Faisal

The conference resumed post-lunchwith the commencement of the second part of the Technical Session (a) on Rural tourism development case studies fromaround the world. It took place at the Mir Anas Hall. Marie-HélèneRajkowski- Roirand presented a PowerPoint on Rural Tourism Strategies ofDevelopment: The cases of Occitanie and Rajasthan. Sulevi Riukulehto spokeabout Touristic Attraction as Part of a Multiscale Home Experience. Speaker 3,Madhumita Mahatme talked about Peripheral Tourism as an emerging businessstrategy. We then progressed with Subhash Chandra Kannaujiya and Gowhar AhmadWani who spoke on Impact of Rural-Tourismin Himalaya –A view from Koti-Kanasar and Gorchha Village (Uttrakhand) and The Conventional Tourism and SustainableTourism: A case of Indian Tourism Industry, respectively. The last speaker,Mr. Har Lal Singh propounded on Reservoir and Tourism Industry of ShekhawatiRegion. The session was concluded after a round of questions and thechairperson as well as the co-chairperson Mr.Anand Singh’s address.

Q&A  session at the end
Pic Credit(s): Shah Ali Faisal

The Last technical session of the evening on the Rural tourism development case studies from around the world, arranged to be held at the Tagore Hall was chaired by Prof. Alka Sharma, Director, The Business School, University of Jammu. Rural tourism development models were proposed based on the case studies taken up in the French Massif Central, China, Thenmala Village, Kanda, Haryana and Pingla followed by a question-answer session concerning the same, which were substantiated by feedback and recommendations from the chairperson and the co-chairperson Mr. Satvir Singh, after which the speakers were all felicitated with participation certificates.

The delegates and the guests dispersed for a coffee break and then reassembled in the Tagore Hall, after the break for a Panel Discussion on the Challenges faced by tourists visiting rural destinations, as well as the coping strategies.The panel consisted of Prof. Anya Diekmann, University of Brussels. Mr. Jeevan Verma, ROSE Kanda, Bageshwar. Mr. Raj Basu, Help Tourism Private Limited, Siliguri. The panel was headed by Dr.Venu Vasudevan, IAS. Dr. S.K. Singh, COO, Amrapali Group of Institutions, Haldwani was the moderator for the event. The panel discussed the meaning of the word Rural Tourism in the broader sense, defining it as a non-specific term that encompasses the spectrum. There were also pointers from the panelists on the choice of target tourists and customers as well as the implementation of set programs. With the successful winding up of the panel discussion, the curtains were drawn on day two.

A program that included an outing to the famous tourist attraction Akshardham temple and dinner arrangements for the delegates were laid out for the rest of the evening. 


Saturday, November17, 2018: The triennial session and the last day of the International Conference on Rurality andRural Tourism: Challenges and Coping Strategies, orchestrated by The Department of Tourism and HospitalityManagement (DTHM), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and bankrolled by The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India emanated on an ebullient note and further stemmed out conclusions about the sessions from the previous two days.

The day started with The Technical session 3(a) on Design and delivery of the rural experience which was conformed to take place at the Tagore Hall of Dayar-e-Mir Taqi Mir. One of the conferences was chaired by Prof.Ramesh Raj Kunwar, Academic advisor, Janapriya Campus, Tribhuvan University,Nepal and co-chaired by Mr. L. K.Ganguli, Director, NCHM, Noida andDr. Harpreet Kaur Jass, Dept. of Education, JMI served as the Rapporteur.Six speakers in all namely Neo Tsephe (Durban Univ. Of Technology, South Africa), Isabelle Cloquet (University of Brussels, Belgium), Jad Abou Arrange(The Lebanese University, Lebanon), Rakhshanda Parveen (CMS, JMI, India), Ms. Zakir Tasmin Rahman (Amity University, India) and Sonam Angmo (KurukshetraUniversity, India) presented their research papers on their topics. The session majorly focused on sustainable tourism literature and the various coping strategies to promote tourism in rural areas. It explained in detail that rural local residents have an undeniable right and gains and losses of planning and development in their living places where the people practiced a symbiosis with their environment.  Attention was knuckled down on the ways Rural tourism can assist the local residents of the areas thus contributing to Rural Development as the main objective of basic research in the field was to offer guidelines for which the tourism industry and the society can enjoy bilateral benefits in this long-term contribution.All the speakers underscored ways of succor, the kind of tourism provided as a remedy against the economical difficulties while also bringing to the limelight the pros of it as an industry that is labor intensive and has a multiplying effect in the economy and significantly has no environment degrading factors involved. The session culminated with the chairperson’s address.

The Technical Session 3(b) on Design and delivery of the rural experience which was concurrently held in the Mir Anis Hall was chaired by Prof. Sunil K Kabia, Dean- Commerce and Management, Bundelkhand University, Jhansi and co-chaired by Mr. Kamal Pant, Principal, IHM, Pusa, New Delhi whereas Mr. Priyadarshan Lakhawat, Dy. Dir.- Acadaemics &Training, NCHM, Noida served as the rapporteur. The session heard a total of 5 speakers namely Antony Leroy (Clermont Auvergne University, France), Tania Hossain, (Waseda University, Japan), Jitendra Das, (IHM, Chennai, India), Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav, (Prestige University of Mangement, Gwalior, India), Shilpi Saraswat (The Maharaja Sayaji Rao University of Vadodara,India) the session made tick starting with  Antony Leroy who presented a power point presentation on the place of rural tourism in the sustainable management of Chaine des Puys and the Limagne fault registered in the world heritage of UNESCO. It preceded with Tania Hossain speaking about the current status of rural tourism in Bangladesh. She spoke about the different types of tourism thus labouring the point about how rural tourism gave employment to the local residents who are least benefited with other kinds of tourism. She also addressed the various predicaments of tourism in Bangladesh and Mr. Das from Chennai who embarked upon the colloquy by quoting Max Muller and Mahatma Gandhi and proceeded to talk about the Tourism promotional scheme of the government “Hunar se Rozgar tak” and further brought forth the strategies for capacity building in Chennai. It was Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav who gave a literature review about market segmentation and the marketing of tourism through motivation and for the need of segmentation he presented a cluster analysis. The swan song was presented by Shilpi Saraswat who verbalised the advent of tourism in Gujarat and then gave her presentation rolling out the opportunities for rural tourism in Champaner and Jambugoda near Vadodara. The curtains for the session were brought down with the question answer round and with the felicitation of the respective speakers with certificates and with goodies and mementoes which have used wood, jute and paper and no use of plastic or fibre focussing on the Green Conference initiative to the chairperson along with the co-chairperson and rapporteur as it has been done inthe previous sessions.

The last technical session was the panel discussion chaired by Mr Klaus Ehrlich. The panel consisted of 3 members namely Mr Jose Eugenio Guevara Brenes from UCI, Costa Rica, Mr Pandurang Taware of the Agri TourismDevelopment Corp., Pune and Ms. Priya Vardheesh from Plumeria Eco trails, Kamanur and was moderated by Mr. Syed Khalid from our DTHM, JMI. The session was focussed on methods to create and deliver a rural experience through improvising and applying existing techniques or devising innovative methods.

 On the Final Day
Pic Credit(s): Mohd. Danish

The Valedictory session was marked by the auspicious presence of the Chief Guest Shri Subhash Goyal, Founder Chairman, STIC Travel Group of Companies at the Mir Anis Hall and was blessed by the recitation of  The Holy Quran by Md. Meraj Uddin. Dean of Faculty of Humanities & Languages,  Prof. Wahajuddin Alvi felicitated the Chief Guest and addressed the ensemble of dignitaries with his warm words. Prof. Nimit Choudhary thanked everyone for their efforts and provided a report on the conference highlighting the 38 papers presented, ARTI, Virasat-e-Hind and the Green Conference Initiative. The Chief Guest for the day encouraged all with his inspiring words and stressed on development of villages and eradication of poverty, generation of employment,preservation of environment with Rural Tourism as the best instrument to achieve these. The Vote of thanks was presented by the Organising Secretary Dr. Vijay Kr. Dev acknowledging everyone’s presence at the conference. Last but not the least an A/V prepared by the students of DTHM, JMI provided a glimpse of the three-day conference and the memorable moments that all can carry back.

Valedictory Session
Pic Credit(s): Mohd. Danish



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