Rural Tourism in India

What is Rural Tourism?

  • Focuses on exploring and experiencing rural lifestyle and culture.
  • Takes place in non-urban areas showcasing art, culture, heritage, and native life.
  • Activities include farming, fishing, crafts, and various aspects of rural life.
  • Targets areas with low population density, are dominated by agriculture, forestry, and traditional social structures.
  • High potential to stimulate rural economic growth and social change.
  • Aligns with “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India) and “Vocal for Local” initiatives.
  • Prioritized for development since the 11th five-year plan (2007-2012).

Strategies for Development

  • The Ministry of Tourism has formulated two strategies:
  • National Strategy and Roadmap for the Development of Rural Tourism in India.
  • National Strategy for Promotion of Rural Homestays in India.
  • Focus on a holistic approach to developing rural tourism and uplifting the rural economy.

Key strategic pillars:

  • Benchmarking state policies and best practices.
  • Digital technologies and platforms for rural tourism.
  • Developing clusters for rural tourism.
  • Marketing support for rural tourism.
  • Capacity building of stakeholders.
  • Governance and Institutional Framework.

Mapping Rural Tourism Potential

  • Ministry of Tourism launched:
  • Best Tourism Village Competition – identified 35 best tourism villages from 795 applicants.
  • Best Rural Homestay Competition

Positioning at the Global Level

  • Pochampally Village, Telangana (2021) and Dhordo Village, Gujarat (2023) are recognized as UNWTO Best Tourism Villages.

From Last Village to First Village

  • Vibrant Village Program for India’s Border Villages – focuses on the holistic development of villages in border areas.
  • Upgrading infrastructure, healthcare, education, and fostering economic growth.
  • Key areas of development:
  • All-weather roads
  • Drinking water
  • 24/7 electricity (solar and wind focus)
  • Mobile and internet connectivity

Community Reinforcement

  • The Ministry of Tourism strategizes capacity-building initiatives for stakeholders.
  • Establishing Capacity Building Resource Centers at National, State, and Cluster levels.
  • Centres will:
  • Facilitate knowledge exchange
  • Foster interaction among stakeholders (practitioners, institutions, government agencies, volunteers)
  • Serve as repositories for tourism knowledge


  • Rural tourism plays a pivotal role in fostering rural development by providing a range of benefits and
    avenues for growth.