Taking a step back to SUSTAINABILITY

र्यटन् पृथिवीं सर्वां, गुणान्वेषणतत्परः। - Panchatantra  

(जो गुणों की खोज में तत्पर है,वे लोग सारी पृथ्वी घुमते है।  Those who wish to seek virtues travel the entire world.)

Bharat has valued ‘Travel’ and ‘Travel Experiences’ for a long time. It reflects the age-old wisdom of our Rishis, who were the greatest wanderers ever. Their renewed thinking was the force behind their energised perspective in everything they did. 

The mind has a way of working and it stimulates when experiencing different things. And what could be a better way than to travel in order to get those experiences? Our ancestors knew this and they have said it loudly in many scriptures and books. 

Tourism as we may believe is a modern concept, it is NOT. Our history has records of various types of tourism and hospitality; from ancient to modern era. A glorious and enriching journey of tourism can be found in our Vedas. One of the most significant activities for seeking knowledge, rest, recreation and rejuvenation. Aakhet (hunting), Vanyavihar (forest sight-seeing), Naukvihar (boating/cruising), Tirthatan (pilgrimage), Paryatan (tourism), many of the few words that can be found in our age-old scriptures. And how fascinating is the description of types of tourism that colloquially explains the purpose of travel. 

“Atithi Devo Bhava”- “ Guest is Dev/God” “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”- “The world is One Family”. This simply refers to respectful reception and graceful treatment of strangers assuming him/her as Dev/God is ancient notation reflecting our rich and diverse culture. ‘Atithi’; simply means one who arrived without giving any tithi/date. That was yesterday when transport and connectivity was mostly by foot. With time and evolution, connectivity improved, communication is faster now, resulting in an improved tourism service sector. Yes, a service sector Tourism is one of the key sectors generating revenue and employment.

India known for her DIVERSITY, rich heritage, culture and scenic beauties, makes it one of the most preferred tourist destinations-Diversity is the Key. According to Statista 2022, the contribution of the tourism industry in the Indian Economy in the year 2021 is 5.8%. There is a 1.2% decline from the year 2019 due to COVID, but is picking up the pace again. During 2021, the number of Domestic Tourist Visits to the States/UTs was 67,76,32,981 as compared to 61,02,16,157 in 2020 registering a growth of 11.05% and during 2021, the number of Foreign Tourist Visits to the States/UTs was 10,54,642 as compared to 71,71,769 in 2020 registering negative growth of 85.3% (

There are different reasons to travel to a particular location, from taking a break to wellness to education and much more……. How many of us travel with a sense of responsibility as a TRAVELER/VISITOR?

Yes! We are responsible for our actions while we visit a place, and it is overwhelming to see this mindfulness is igniting thoughtfulness and responsibility among many travelers. But it is not enough. We keep taking from our Mother Earth since the time we are born….. one should now start to reflect upon the idea of contributing back to the PRAKRITI.

ONE STEP AT A TIME-if we want constructive outcomes then this is the key.

Moving forward with SUSTAINABLE TOURISM:

Sustainability cannot be defined in a word or a sentence, rather, it is a series of practices involved while traveling through mindfulness, consciousness and awareness making the most of the journey and an enriching experience for the travelers and the locals, the guests and the hosts. 

Sustainable tourism is the concept of visiting a location as a tourist and trying to make a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy. It must be envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, and biological nature. Tourism is welcomed almost universally for the benefits and opportunities it creates. There is a growing recognition of the need to see tourism in its environmental context, to acknowledge that tourism and the environment are interdependent, to work to reinforce the positive relationship between tourism and the environment that will bring required balance to the idea of tourism with sustainability.

There are different ideas pertaining to sustainable tourism, however, there is no right or wrong definition of the said concept. Individual and collective consciousness is required to practically apply to the term. Today, with global-warming and other potential threats to nature is quite evident, and we humans have contributed the most to this downfall. Hence, we must take ownership for this shift in the environment. Over the past few decades, we can see the awakening and measures are taken towards sustainable development in all fields. 

Most effectual and attentive audience will be the young generation or colloquially known as the gen Z. Educate young minds at an early age to be responsible and mindful, create their connection with nature, involve them in various activities that will give them a sense of wonder and anticipation. Once we assume our responsibility, we will find a door, a window, or a hole to see the light. As a traveler, individual/friends/family, be mindful while traveling and always contribute back to nature in your own way. And you are most certainly a different individual with all those experiences you gain while traveling. Be it travel or anywhere, one can start working towards sustainability with simple measures. To start with, plant a tree to celebrate small or big occasions in your life and make a difference. Be inspired, keep inspiring!

TRAVEL MORE, GAIN MORE EXPERIENCE! Be a better version of yourself.

A few of my favorite quotes concluding my thoughts:

“मधु॒ वाता ऋतायते मधु क्षरन्ति सिन्धवः।माध्वीर्नः सन्त्वोषधीः ॥

Transliteration: madhu̱ vātā ṛtāyate madhu kṣaranti sindhavaḥ। mādhvīrnaḥ santvoṣadhīḥ ॥

English Translation: Environment provides bliss to people leading their life perfectly. Rivers bless us with sacred water and provide us health, night, morning, vegetation. Sun bliss us with peaceful life. Our cows provide us with milk.

Source: Rigveda, 1/90/6

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” -Mahatma Gandhi

“Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being.” - Kevin Kruse

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” - Iroquois Maxim

“How is it possible that the most intellectual creature to ever walk the planet earth is destroying its only home?” - Jane Goodall


Tourism and Hospitality in Vedas: A journey of Tourism and Hospitality through Indian Epics and Scriptures

-Dr. Chiranjib Kumar Choudhary (PhD)

Tourism in India and its various types-Dr Sutinder Singh, Dr Manohar Jain