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Responsible Tourism: The New Normal

Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) university in New Delhi, India, organized a five-day online Faculty Development Program (FDP) on the topic “Responsible Tourism in the New Normal” in collaboration with AICTE Training and Learning (ATAL) Academy.

The 5-day online program was held between December 6-10, 2021, on the Webex platform. Over the 5 days, the FDP aimed to formulate an understanding and build on the fundamental concepts and issues of responsible tourism management, underlying both in practice and the theoretical approaches in the tourism and hospitality industry. The FDP also strove to equip the participants with the skills needed to manage travel responsibly in post COVID-19 situation. The workshop was enthusiastically attended by a large number of scholars, students, and faculty from various parts of the nation.

In the inaugural day of the workshop on December 6, 2021, Dr. Sarah Hussain, HoD, DTHM, JMI and also the Convener of the FDP highlighted the very reason of conducting the FDP. She stressed upon the very necessity of re-engaging in a larger public discourse and to bring in the much-needed focus on responsible tourism to get the tourism industry achieve its designated mandate in the development of the nations and communities. She emphasized the roles of such FDPs to accomplish the larger UN Sustainable Development Goals apart from finding innovative ways and means in tiding over immediate these uncertain and unprecedented times of the pandemic. The gathering was later addressed by Shri. Rakesh Mathur (Honorary President, Responsible Tourism Society of India), which was followed by  the address of the co-convener Prof. Nimit Chowdhary (Professor, DTHM, JMI).

The FDP, saw its first session on December 6 with the introductory discussions by the keynote speaker and pre-eminent authority on global responsible in tourism, Prof. Harold Goodwin (Advisor, WTM Responsible Tourism Emeritus Professor) who presented his insights on responsible tourism. This was ensued by Mr. K Rupesh Kumar (Coordinator, State Responsible Tourism Mission, Nodal Officer for Kerala) who shared his experiences of Kerala, showcasing the exemplary and very successful model of the Responsible Tourism Mission while talking about the Responsible Tourism Resource Mapping elaborating on the PEPPER Flow on the involvement of local communities, on potential tourism products and services, resulting in the experiential tourism activities.

Special skills are needed to manage travel responsibly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The subsequent days saw some engaging sessions in which Prof. Ashish Dahiya (IHTM & Dir. CLSS, MD University, Rohtak) who spoke on the “Challenges for responsible tourism and what could be the prospects,” Prof. Nimit Chowdhary (The co-convener of the FDP) dwelled on “how tours could be made responsible and inclusive. Later, Ms. Manisha Pande (MD Village Ways) deliberated on the “importance of responsible practices and its benefits for local communities.

On the third day, Dr. Saurabh Dixit (Tourism and Hotel Management Department, NEHU) talked about the broad aspects of food and culinary tourism and how these could be made sustainable for generations to come. He also discussed tourism products involved in food and wine tourism.  The second session was taken up by Mr. Sumesh Mangalasseri (Founder, Kabani Community Tourism and Services, Kerala) who expressed his views regarding preservation of the techniques of indigenous culture through responsible tourism. He also shared his company’s contribution in community inclusive responsible tourism. The day culminated with Prof. Joseph Antony (Principal, Loyola College of Social Sciences) sharing the ways how his company Little Paradise Homestays is practicing responsible tourism through community participation in Kerala.

Over the last two days, the FDP saw some sessions from eminent speakers which included a session by Prof. Inayat. Ali Zaidi (Former Dean of Department of Humanities, Jamia Millia Islamia) speaking on “responsible tourism: perception and application”, Prof. S C Bagri (Former VC, Himgiri Zee University; ex.-HoD, CMHS, HNB Garhwal University) taking up the topic of “opening the Himalayan states for responsible tourism,” and Ms. Soity Banerjee (Project Editor – Outlook Responsible Tourism) led the session into an engaging discussion on climate crises and their impacts on tourism enumerating the emerging negative and positive patterns. She discussed the scope and the newer opportunities in the domain of responsible tourism in India. She showed the various innovative start-ups and their solutions that are impacting the landscape of responsible tourism.

On the 5th day, Prof. Sampad Kumar Swain (DTS, Pondicherry University)  deliberated on the “Future paradigms of responsible tourism and hospitality business in India” while Prof. Parikshat Singh Manhas (SHTM, Jammu University) took a session on “capacity building for tourism resource conservation”

The final day concluded with valedictory session of Professor Sheeba Hamid from Aligarh Muslim University. The Patron of the FDP, Prof. Asaduddin (Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Languages, JMI) in his address lauded the efforts of the entire department ably spearheaded by Dr. Sarah Hussain. Later a report was also presented on the 5-day FDP by Dr. Vijay Kumar. The Vote of thanks was offered by the Co-Convener and senior Professor Nimit Chowdhary and the  Concluding Remarks followed from the Convener and Head of the Department Dr. Sarah Hussain. On behalf of the department, Dr. Sarah Hussain, offered her deepest thanks to the Chief Patron of the FDP the Honorable Vice Chancellor, JMI, Prof. Najma Akhtar for her support to the FDP, despite the many extremely important events being organized in the University.

The workshop was coordinated by Dr. Nusrat Yasmeen (Assistant Professor) and Mr. Mohd. Wasif (Assistant Professor) which saw an active participation of almost 200 attendees. Each day the participants took a test and were handed relevant materials over the google classroom to enhance their understanding on the sessions of the FDP.

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Anil Mathur - eTN India

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