DHAN Tourism for Development is an outcome of the four-year pilot project 'Endogenous Tourism for Rural Livelihoods' implemented in Karaikudi and Kazhugumalai in Tamil Nadu with the support of United Nations Development Programme and Government of India. One of the key learnings of the project was that the diversified livelihood opportunities exist in the tourism sector can contribute in poverty reduction. 'Tourism for Development' would be crosscutting theme to facilitate DHAN's programmes working in the locations of tourism importance to capitalize the emerging opportunities in the tourism sector. It would be a multi-stakeholder and inclusive approach with all the stakeholders in tourism including the poor communities.
The Key Programme Strategies are
- Organizing the poor families into tourism based People's Organizations and introducing savings, credit and insurance services.
- Conserving and promoting heritage and artisanal skills by organizing the artisans and service providers into Primary producer and marketing groups and federating them into a Producer cum Marketing Company.
- Strengthening existing skills and building new skills in production, servicing and marketing related to tourism
- Linking the Peoples 'Organizations with commercial banks, markets and resource institutions for mobilizing resources, production and marketing of quality products.
- Facilitating research and development in the Peoples 'Organizations for product innovation, packaging and marketing.
- Ensuring responsible tourism through promoting tourism literacy and capacity building.
DHAN Tourism for Development programme is advancing the theme and started working on promoting 'responsible tourism' in the pilot tourism projects initiated with the support of UNDP and Government of India. As recognition for the efforts taken by DHAN in promoting community centric and pro-poor tourism in the pilot location, the Tourism project implemented in Karaikudi received the CNBC Awaaz Travel Award 2009, as the Best Example for community managed Tourism. Similarly, the Tourism programme of DHAN bagged the National Tourism Award for the year 2008-2009 in the category of 'Best NGO promoting rural tourism in India'. This Award was instituted by the Ministry of Tourism, GoI, and the Vice-President of India presented this award to DHAN in a ceremony at New Delhi.