June 6, 2007

What does Tourism mean to me?

To me, Tourism is synonymous with wanderlust…….

traveling to interesting places away from the din of our daily lives, for leisure or combined with work. It is about breathing in the fresh whiff of sea swept air and walking through soft sand melting at my feet. It is about roaming places without worry - carefree and childlike. Tourism means all this to me and much more. It is also about prodding myself to tread into unknown territory, into roads less taken that gives an intoxicating delight comparable to none. Standing on the edge of a precipice, letting down your excess baggage and kissing the air is what it symbolizes to me- it symbolizes freedom.

We are all tourists in one form or the other, for the joy of seeing new places, people and learning is immeasurable. We want to explore new places. We strive to sense the wonder of those ancient artists honing their skills to perfection in Khajurao or Konark, we reach out to be one with nature in all its wild beauty whether in Corbett or Kaziranga, we trek miles of our vast earth to observe and explore the ancient practices of the Baigas and Bhotiyas. And the best way out is to pack one’s bag and set out into the fascinating world. For it opens our eyes to new wonders of our world, new vistas of knowledge, providing thrill and wisdom simultaneously.

The tourist travels abroad or at home in search of pleasure and leisure in wildlife parks, beaches, towns and villages. Tourism is an educational activity as well, for it gives a whole new insight into the natural history, culture and varied traditions of diverse communities. It is a stepping stone to cross-cultural friendships and understanding. It brings people from one part of the world into interaction with another. Tourism in its pure form is an invigorating mélange of sights, smells, tastes and sounds of the world we live in.

Completing a tour is not just an end to itself but is a window to myriad colours of life. For, it is about being carefree but not careless. Tourism enables me not only to enjoy places but also imbibes a deep sense of responsibility for the upkeep of the environment. It is an opportunity not only to discover joy in the exquisiteness of the destination but also to ensure that the splendor remains undisturbed and cherished by future generations.

Above all, Tourism is about creating lasting imprints not on places we stopped by, but on ourselves - Enlightened and Enthused by every single place we visit, meals we partake, sights we behold, cultures we salute and extra lives that we live…..

In the Forest of the night