Tourism, Jobs and India

By Dr. Mahesh Kaul

Tourism is not like any other industry that can sustain on a specified well defined domain. It encompasses the every sphere of human activity ranging from exploration based on curiosity to travel guided by a desire for solace.But the soul of tourism lies in its intangibility that makes it unique in comparison to other businesses. The beauty of tourism and its inclusive nature lies in the support system that it derives from the tangible segments. These range from airways to the surface transport besides the comprehensive network of the railways.
The journey of tourism as an industry and business to the present level has been possible due to the innovation of the tourism marketers and above all the tourists themselves who constitute the target of the whole business planning paradigm. As the tourism oriented people who explore the virgin destinations lay the foundation for the rules of the business. No two destinations can be governed by the same set of rules. The reason being the different eco systems and the aesthetic value with the cultural identity involved with it to shape its narrative as a destination. Moreover, no tourism destination can flourish and emerge on the tourism map in a sustainable way till the host community is involved in the co -creation of the tourism product. The identification of the stakeholders ;their sensitisation and ultimately their involvement in shaping the policy for the on ground destination marketing and management is crucial for the successful tourism mapping.
India being the ancient civilisation having roots in the Sanskritisation that integrates not only the national assets of cultural and heritage value both tangible and intangible but lays the foundation of the universal integration for the goal of the “VasudevaKutambakam”-terming the whole cosmos as the home for all .Thus rising above the sectarian and cultural divide by emphasising the truth of human brotherhood for all.
This year’s World Tourism Day celebrations for the entire year have an added significance as its theme “Tourism and Jobs:A Better Future for All” reveals it all.When analysed in perpetuity it has inherent in it the economic trajectory that the world is taking due to the trade wars between the two economic giants USA and China in terms of export -import crisis and the devaluation of the currency.It looks further and emphasises the identification of the stakeholders in tourism so that they can be benefitted and at the same time involved in the multiplier effect of the business.
Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary- General of the World Tourism Organisation in his official message has comprehensively summed up the objective of this year’s theme.He says,”The true potential of tourism,both as a creator of jobs and as a driver of equality and sustainable development,is only just being realised.Providing decent work opportunities and contributing to developing professional skills are at the heart of this.Well managed, the continued growth of our sector will encompass countless opportunities and allow tourism to live up to its global social responsibility to leave no one behind.”
Identifying the penetration and acceptance of tourism as a well organised discipline in academics besides a knowledge based industry he says, “Just as new technology is changing the way we travel,so too is it changing the way we work. Tourism is leading the way in providing workers with the skills and knowledge they need for the jobs of tomorrow.Embracing this creative spirit,including through effective collaboration with partners in the technology sector and in academia,will drive thecreation of more and better jobs.”
It has a great significance for India as this year’s Host country is India.India being the ancient culture and civilisation that has integral to it the cultural heritage happens to be the repository of refined human evolution through spiritual journey and creation of assets that are profound with divine aesthetics.Besides the Indian nation is the rich treasure of environmental wonders of varied forms due the diversity of climate zones and variety of languages that are spoken besides the unique customs integrated by Sanskrit cultural and civilizational moorings from Kashmir to KanyaKumariand then beyond Rajasthan upto Kamroop.
Minister of State (IC)for Tourism and Culture,Government of India,Prahlad Singh Patel has aptly summed up the essence of this year’s theme and said in his message that,”In the process of job creation ,let us ensure that our strategies for development of tourism are not in conflict with the environment and have minimal negative impact.When we talk about sustainability we should not only talk about conservation of resources but also our culture and heritage,which we have adopted in India through our Sustainable Tourism Criteria.”
This year’s theme of “Tourism and Jobs:A Better Future for All” should prompt the Ministry of Tourism to start a comprehensive policy to develop tourism as a discipline and not only as industry.As discipline involves philosophy to establish it as a core area of research in Universities so that the findings are implemented for the inclusive growth of the country and the destination area with the involvement of the stakeholders. In the absence of research and professional expertise in the Universities, the core business areas like tourism are left at the mercy of proxy and pseudo experts who parachute into policy making and academia and indulge in subversion .Thus wrecking the academic and professional recruitment in both universities and the industry.It ultimately leads to the strangulation of the otherwise ever flourishing tourism sector. The worst case scenario of academic dysfunction in tourism research and studies has taken place in Jammu and Kashmir,where inspite of being of having no dearth of tourism potential ;subversion has taken the root in the policy making.And the recruitment process in the Tourism Management Departments of Universities in Jammu and Kashmir in general and Jammu in particular are being made on adhoc basis to benefit the subversive sycophant cartel. Thus making it difficult to evolve cutting edge research to support tourism.Unfortunately,the University of Jammu and Central University of Jammu has become victim of this subversion in tourism research and recruitment for teaching in tourism.The earlier it is rectified the better it is for the newly created Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir to create conducive ground for tourism in the state.
To sum up, thrust on tourism in India has to be such that it should make us to introspect that the Indian nation as an ancient civilisation has no dearth of culture and heritage and as such it not only makes us proud but should prompt us to develop a co – creative mechanism that focuses on the synergy between the host community and the policy makers.That includes the tourism marketers and the heritage management professionals having a grooming in tourism management as a discipline.As such the universities that offer the master’s degrees and PhD programmes in tourism should have a definite mechanism for supporting the genuine scholarship on tourism that can guide the nation in general and the states in particular where these universities are located.But this cannot be realised in isolation as universities running these courses have established their tendency to accommodate proxies and sycophants while recruiting the human resource for teaching.As tourism cannot thrive in isolation similarly tourism education cannot yield the desired dividends till it is guided the by the subversives within the university system. Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry for Tourism and Culture should join hands and make it multidisciplinary in terms of policy issues.
There can be no opportune place than Jammu and Kashmir to set the tourism business and tourism academics on track where the subversive Article 370 and 35 A has been abrogated to bring it into national mainstream. To make the theme ” Tourism and Jobs :A Better Future for All” a reality ;the best place is Jammu and Kashmir to start with by dismantling the subversive network in the Tourism and Travel Management Departments of the newly created union territory, especially Jammu where tourism Management departments in Universities are run by proxies and not by professional scholars.
(The Author is a Post-Doctoral Fellow with Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR), Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi.)