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NotOnMap and Help Tourism lntroduces 'Project TraVival' - an initiative to Boost Rural Tourism

Monday, September 21, 2020, 16:32 Hrs  [IST]

At a time where the entire world is struggling to keep up with the pandemic, NotOnMap and Help Tourism in association with ICRT India (The International Centre for Responsible Tourism) has come up with an ingenious project to aid rural areas of India to manage the crisis efficiently. 

The company has come up with a series of 150+ training videos in over 18 regional languages divided in 12 modules for Homestay owners, Village Panchayats, Teachers/Youth and Women of villages and travelers across India thus covering all stakeholders of ‘Rural Tourism’ in India. The entire training will be kept as open source, free of any expenses and it aims to touch around 1 lac villages in India in next 1 year. The project is an outcome of 3 months of continuous efforts after conducting more than 30 webinars involving over 2000 community members and around 50 organizations from across 17 states in India.

NotOnMap is a sustainable and Socially-driven initiative with an aim to empower local, rural communities by helping them capitalize on their untapped culture and heritage value realized the need for this in these times for rural pockets and created pool of expert think tanks from industry who came together to conceptualize, design and execute “Project TraVival- Training for Travel Revival” exclusively for Rural communities. Today in these times, when rural pockets of India are dried up economically and socially due to no business, TraVival plans to help in such rural parts categorically with the training for travel revival, and follow the extensive SOP for the COVID-19 prevention while enabling the business to sustain and grow.

These modules have been designed by subject matter experts to provide the reliable and relevant training content to rural pockets. Mr. Rupesh Kumar K, Responsible Tourism Mission State Coordinator Govt of Kerala; Mr. Raj Basu, Founder Help Tourism and Rural Tourism advisor with Govt of Arunachal Pradesh; Dr. Arun Chandan Regional Director, RCFC North from the AAYUSH ministry, civil society DA (Development Alternative), Mr. Sachin Kumar an expert in Green livelihood and Impact evaluation are some of the domain experts who have been integral part while creating the content. 

The diversity of learning opportunities in the rural areas is quite low, mostly due to less access to the internet and social media. This further deprives rural India of the necessary means to educate them about the pandemic and take necessary precautions. NotOnMap in order to help out these rural sectors have their guidelines translated in over than 18 regional dialects, answering their biggest question ‘What shall they do?’

“Merely informing these rural communities about government regulations and sustainability practices to be followed may not be sufficient, rather, these are the people that need actual hand holding hence the team of Industry experts came together with this project to support the industry as a whole by not just education and creating awareness rather getting it implemented in respective communities”, commented Kumar Anubhav, Founder NotOnMap.

The videos will not only cover topics around homestay and personal safety and hygiene but also educate people on sustainable practices and homestay business during Covid-19. It is inclusive of all points by international bodies and the Govt. guidelines, includes policies to be followed by the hosts to maintain a guaranteed SafeStay. Translated in over 18 regional languages, it will be accessible to the most remote homestays as well. With the pandemic affecting villagers’ small businesses, this initiative might come as a savior for many. The village Panchayats will be roped in for this project to ensure the smooth implementation and audit of the same. 

Project TraVival, further will be incorporating ‘develop and deploy’ to ensure ‘minimum service expectation’ from community and travelers alike through training, post that, certification and periodical audits to ensure that all the training imparted in the past is being followed.

Rupesh Kumar, RT mission State Coordinator for Kerala, further added “What we did to establish the basic principles of Sustainable and Responsible tourism practices in the last 15 years in Kerala, we aim to do the same across India by using these intensive training content using digital channel to ensure a better Rural India”.

“While we train the homestay owners and rural communities across many areas, it is also important to define and create a Responsible traveler. The training content will aim to sensitize and make travelers aware about their duties and respect they should show while they explore any rural pocket in India. Homestay should not be taken as cheaper OR budget option for travelers, someone opening their personal space for stranger is no less than luxury and through these videos we intend to create this awareness among travelers across India” quoted Raj Basu, Founder Help Tourism and Rural Tourism advisor with Govt of Arunachal Pradesh.

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