Stories of Rural India
Outlook Traveller|July 2021
AS TRAVELLERS, WE PAN THE LANDSCAPE FOR THE GOLD of insights about any destination and the people who inhabit it. At the heart of travel — between memory, the windows into the past, and imagination that open out into the future — lie stories. India, with its diverse landscape and cultures, is a land of infinite stories with a great spectrum of people who tell them.
Shivya Nath

At one end live those who are in a temporal wrap (some that are ancient yet surviving), and at the other are people who are so modern that they are leading the way of living lightly and have the smallest ecological footprint. It is this spectrum of people that makes travel what it is meant to be: understanding ourselves and our place by experiencing the other.

When the Covid pandemic hit in early 2020, of the moving parts that make up the Indian tourism industry — the traveller and tourism enterprises — had a voice, choice, and agency. The voice to turn the crisis of the pandemic-induced lockdown into an opportunity to rethink, reset, rebuild, and advocate for relief. The choice to pivot into new digital opportunities while sheltering at home. Or to diversify, re-imagine and recast themselves with newly positioned products for a changed world of travel. Many community tourism enterprises that work with such destinations and communities had to fold or morph.

Despite growing access to smartphones and the internet, the lack of digital skills and tailored opportunities in rural areas in India held people back.

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