With the aim of placing India among the top adventure tourism destinations of the world, the Government of India will take concrete steps to develop infrastructure and set up high safety standards, Tourism and Culture Minister G K Reddy has said.
With 7,000 km of coastline, 70 per cent of the mighty Himalayas, and 70,000 square miles of sand desert, India offers many avenues for adventure tourism across the four elements of land, water, sky, and air.
Delivering the keynote address at the Second Tourism Working Group meeting under G20 in Bengal's Siliguri, Reddy highlighted the fact that in addition to the white salt desert in Kutch and the cold desert in Ladakh, India has 700 sanctuaries and national parks, including tiger reserves.
The Minister said adventure tourism in India is gaining immense popularity among both domestic and international tourists. People of different age groups are actively participating in various adventure-based activities.
Reddy opined that India's topography is conducive for a variety of adventure activities, such as trekking, camping, water rafting, mountaineering, bungee jumping, skiing, scuba diving, snorkelling, and wildlife safaris, among others.
To take advantage of the full potential of adventure tourism in the country, the Indian government is making concerted efforts at the policy and strategy levels, the Minister said.
Reddy informed that the areas of focus include development of adventure tourism infrastructure, financial assistance to adventure tourism destinations, developing skilled personnel, threat assessment, defining safety standards, research and development activities, and branding.
The delegates of G20 nations participated in a discussion titled, ‘Adventure Tourism as a vehicle for achieving Sustainable Development Goals’.
Reddy said that a national adventure tourism strategy has been framed, which focuses on initiatives like state ranking criteria for adventure tourism sites, a model adventure tourism law, development of mega trails, development of adventure activity guidelines, adventure tourism rescue centres, and development of website and social media pages for adventure tourism.
India is determined to achieve the goals of Mission LiFE, a sustainable "Lifestyle for Environment," the Minister said.
He said that to create focused awareness among the youth of the country, Youth Tourism Clubs have been established in all educational institutions across the country.
These clubs will create interest, awareness, and a sense of responsibility towards our country’s natural, cultural, and spiritual heritage among youth and children.
Highlighting the tremendous scope in the eastern and norteastern parts of the country, Reddy said that with its rolling mountain slopes, lush green forests, famous tea gardens, and quaint temples and monasteries, this part of India is ideal for mountain and adventure sports, including trekking, as much as for spiritual rejuvenation.
The theme of India's G20 presidency is 'One Earth, One Family, One Future'.
Under its presidency, the Government of India is hosting over 200 meetings in more than 59 cities across the country.
These destinations have been chosen to showcase India’s diverse geographical and rich cultural heritage.
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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