Shri. Ajay Bhatt, Minister of State of Tourism and Defence; Ms. V. Vidhyavathi, Secretary (Tourism); Ms. Leena Nandan, Secretary Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Shri. Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism along with other officials were present on the occasion.
On the occasion Shri. Ajay Bhatt said that the Ministry of Tourism’s recent initiative, “Travel for LiFE” is a testament to our commitment to promoting sustainable tourism. He further added that the recent G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi has demonstrated India’s commitment to forging global unity and collaboration, and the deliberations echoed the collective aspirations of nations for a sustainable future. He urged every traveller, every business, and every citizen to adopt this program and pledge to travel responsibly, to respect our environment, and to understand and appreciate the diverse cultures that make our world so beautifully complex. The Travel for LiFE program, which is a part of Mission LiFE, sets out the path to a sustainable planet Earth, he added.
Ms. V. Vidhyavathi, Secretary (Tourism) presented the overview of Travel for LiFE and its varied dimensions. She underlined that the ‘Travel for LiFE’ program will encourage tourists to take simple actions that result in conservation of the environment, and biodiversity, improvement in the local economy and preservation of the socio-cultural integrity of the local communities. It aims to create mindful and deliberate utilization of resources by the stakeholders in the tourism value chain.
On the occasion, Ms. Leena Nandan said that mission Life aims to have sustainable lifestyle, which means mindful use of resources. She added that the challenge of climate change has to be met by governments, by organisations and by individuals through positive and proactive environment related actions.
During his welcome address, Shri. Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, stated that the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration (NDLD) has highlighted the crucial role of tourism and culture as a means for sustainable socio-economic development and economic prosperity.
The event saw the launch of the Travel for LiFE program for two different verticals viz. Travel for LiFE for Cleanliness – a national TFL campaign for cleaning tourist sites and monuments in convergence with the Swachhata campaign and Travel for LiFE for Rural Tourism encouraging tourists to explore the rural and lesser-known hinterland promoting sustainable rural tourism thereby empowering rural communities.
The ‘Travel for LiFE’ program actions promotes sustainable economic development, encourage sustainable consumption and production and thereby contribute to the SDGs focused on Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11), Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12), Climate Action (SDG 13) and Life Below Water (SDG 14). Given the wide range of actions, Travel for LiFE contributes directly and indirectly to almost all the SDGs.
A national Travel for LiFE competition titled as ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’ for case studies and best practices was also launched during the event, in alignment with the key priorities of Goa Roadmap.
The Global launch of Travel for LiFE at Bharat Mandapam, New Delhi was virtually attended by international organizations, participants from the G20 member countries, industry and State Governments.
The event saw the launch of other initiatives like the ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’ Competition, Design Edible Cutlery Competition, Yuva Tourism Club Merchandise and the Swachhata Campaign at 108 Tourism sites across India. The ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’ Competition builds upon the five key priorities of G20 GOA Roadmap for Tourism that are Green Tourism, Digitalization, Skills, Tourism MSMEs, and Destination Management. The Ministry of Tourism will recognize and support SDG-driven Tourism Best Practices in India through the facilitation of this competition.
A Design challenge competition for Institutes of Hotel Management affiliated to NCHMCT (National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology) under Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has been planned to develop innovative solutions in the field of edible cutlery.
In line with the Swachchta campaign activities, a massive cleanliness drive has been planned by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India at identified 108 tourist locations for the launch of the Swachhata Campaign. This campaign will be carried out at these 108 sites as well as other places of tourist importance. The objective of the whole drive is to ensure garbage cleaning, sanitation and banning single-use plastic (SUP) and promoting use of eco-friendly substances. For a wider reach, the students of schools and colleges and members of Yuva Tourism Clubs (YTC) have also been involved.
On the occasion Best Rural Tourism Village Awards were given for promotion and preservation of their cultural heritage and sustainable development through tourism. 35 Rural Tourism Villages were with 5, 10, and 20 villages in Gold, Silver, and Bronze Categories respectively.