The Ministry of Tourism convened the National Conference on Adventure Tourism, held from December 18 to 19, 2023 in Ekta Nagar, Gujarat. Based on the theme, ‘Viksit Bharat@2047: Making India a Global Adventure Tourism Hub’, the primary objective revolved around creating a platform for in-depth discussions and formulating strategies to propel India into a prominent role as a global adventure tourism destination.
Fueled by ambition, the Ministry of Tourism aims to achieve a robust USD 3 trillion tourism economy by 2047, with a substantial contribution of USD 800 billion from adventure tourism alone. This vision also encompasses elevating India into the top ten adventure tourism destinations globally.
To materialise this goal, the agenda includes attracting 20 million Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) and 80 million Foreign Tourist Visits (FTVs) specifically for adventure tourism, generating a significant foreign exchange of USD 90 billion. Domestic visits are expected to reach 4 billion for adventure tourism within the country. Such an ascent from the 96th to the 10th position globally necessitates a cohesive strategic roadmap jointly designed by the Central Government in collaboration with States and Industry stakeholders.
India’s geographic diversity stands as a substantial advantage, boasting rich natural and eco-tourism resources. The country boasts 70 percent of the Himalayas, a 7,000-kilometer coastline, both hot and cold deserts, extensive forest cover (ranking 10th globally), and a remarkable count of recognized UNESCO Natural Heritage sites. Furthermore, India hosts an array of iconic wildlife species, including tigers, lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and more than 1200 species of birds.
Despite this wealth of natural resources and potential, India currently holds a comparatively low position in the global adventure tourism sphere. Recognising the country’s immense potential to emerge as a global adventure tourism marketplace, efforts are being directed toward attracting adventure enthusiasts from around the world.
To give impetus to adventure tourism’s development, the Ministry of Tourism has laid out a comprehensive National Strategy. The Indian Institute of Travel and Tourism Management has been designated as the Central Nodal Agency for Adventure Tourism, providing crucial technical support. Additionally, the establishment of a National Board for Adventure Tourism, comprising representatives from Central Ministries, States, and Industry Stakeholders, aims to provide guidance for sectoral development.
Strategic pillars have been identified to foster sustainable tourism, adventure tourism, and ecotourism, including state assessments and strategies, capacity building, marketing and promotion, safety management frameworks, rescue grids, destination and product development, and governance frameworks.
During the conference, the Ministry of Tourism launched the ‘Adventure Tourism India Website’ and announced the ‘Best Adventure Tourism Destination Competition 2024’.
The event also witnessed various presentations, including the National Strategy for Adventure Tourism by Additional Secretary (Tourism) Rakesh Kumar Verma. Emphasis was placed on capacity building, marketing, promotion, and the necessity of collaboration among central, state, and industry stakeholders.
Notable international and industry perspectives were shared by Mike Druce, Coach at Slalomcoach, and Ajeet Bajaj, President ATOAI, respectively.
The conference also dedicated a session to ‘Propelling States for Adventure Tourism’, featuring presentations from various states showcasing their adventure tourism assets, development initiatives, skill building efforts, marketing strategies, safety measures, and alignment with national policies and digital platforms.
On the subsequent day, the focus shifted to ‘Destination Planning, Development, and Management’, sharing best practices and experiences. Case studies on developing Ekta Nagar as a green field tourism destination and creating a sustainable and responsible tourist destination under Swadesh Darshan 2.0 were spotlighted.
The final session provided updates on various initiatives of the Ministry of Tourism, encompassing the Incredible India Portal, Meet in India campaign, Wed in India campaign, Travel for LiFE Campaign, Travel for LiFE: Tourism for Tomorrow Competition, Best Tourism Village, and Best Rural Homestays Competition.
The state representatives including Sachin Kurve, Secretary, Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board (UTDB); Swapnil Naik, Secretary (Tourism), Arunachal Pradesh; Hareet Shukla, Secretary (Tourism), Gujarat; Kaushlendra Vikram Singh IAS, MD MP Tourism corporation; Kunzes Angmo, Director (Tourism), UT Ladakh; P.B. Nooh, Director (Tourism), Kerala; C.S.Rao, Principal Secretary, Sikkim Tourism and Rakhee Gupta Bhandari, Pr. Secretary, Punjab made the presentations during the conference.
Director Niche Tourism, Radha Katyal Narang, commended the State Government of Gujarat and the Adventure Tour Operator Association of India (ATOAI) for the success of the 15th Annual Convention & Pre-Vibrant Gujarat Event, emphasising the Ministry’s ongoing efforts in promoting and developing sustainable adventure tourism in the country.