Tuesday, September 26, 2017

WORLD TOURISM DAY – 2017

This article is about the World Tourism Day today, the 27th of September 2017 and also about an Essay Writing Contest held by Telangana Tourism Department and The Hindu Newspaper for some chosen school students. 
World Tourism Day (WTD) is held annually on this day. Its purpose is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event seeks to address global challenges outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and to highlight the contribution the tourism sector can make in reaching these goals.
It was at its third session at Torremolinos, Spain, in September 1979, that the General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) decided to establish World Tourism Day, beginning from 1980. This date was chosen to coincide with an important milestone in world tourism: the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes on 27 September 1970.
WTD is celebrated by events around the themes selected by the UNWTO General Assembly, on the recommendation of the UNWTO Executive Council. 
While UNWTO invites people of all ages and backgrounds to hold and take part in celebrations in their respective country or holiday destination, official WTD celebrations take place in a UNWTO Member State, on the basis of geographic rotation.
The theme chosen by UNWTO for this year is “Sustainable Tourism – a tool for development”. I have listed all the themes chosen since 1980 towards the end of this article.
The Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation is conducting a number of programs, especially at tourist places to celebrate World Tourism Day. In association with the Hindu Newspaper it has conducted an Essay writing contest for students, in all schools spread over the entire Telangana State. The topic is “My favorite tourist place in Telangana State”. My granddaughter studying in 7th Class has participated in the contest. Here is her essay, the results are awaited. Below is the manuscript in three pages, followed by the typed text:   
My favourite tourist place in Telangana State.
My favourite tourist place in Telangana State is the temple town of Bhadrachalam and the historical and beautiful places around it. We go there often, because of our family’s long association with this area and love for it.
Secunderabad is our ancestral native place and my great-grandfather too was initially living in Secunderabad. Later, for better opportunities he sought a job at Kothagudem town which is very close to Bhadrachalam and resided there for 25 years. During those years, apart from frequent pilgrimage to Sri Sita Ramachandraswamy Temple at Bhadrachalam they enjoyed visiting several places around this temple town mostly along the two rivers here, Godavari and Kinnerasani. My great-grandfather owned a five-acre Mango groove en-route to Bhadrachalam and there were weekly picnics to this place. My grandfather and great-uncle have fond memories of this place so it has become a tradition in our family to visit Bhadrachalam and places near it often.
Bhadrachalam is one of the most famous pilgrimage places in Telangana State. It has the ancient temple of Sri Sita Ramachandraswamy (Lord Sri Rama). It is 320 kms from Hyderabad. It is on the fringes of the largest forest in our country, the Dhandakaranya, and on the left bank of the mighty and sacred River Godavari, the second longest river in our country. This entire area is very beautiful. The temple was developed in the 17th century by Kancharla Gopanna (Baktha Ramadasu) the Tehasildhar (Revenue Officer) of that area by using the local taxes for which he was imprisoned by Tana Shah, the Sultan of Golconda kingdom. After few years of imprisonment he was released as it is believed that Lord Rama along with his brother Lakshmana visited the Sultan and paid back the money spent by Ramadasu.
Thirty kilometers away is Parnashala, where Sita Devi, Lord Rama and Lakshmana lived for few years, during the last phase of their Vanavasam - 14 years exile from their kingdom, Ayodhya. The drive to this place along River Godavari is along the dense Dhandkaranya forest, full of greenery, forest trees and fertile lands. This area is a feast to the eyes. Many interesting signs of Sri Sita and Rama’s livelihood here are still in existence. This is also the place from where King Ravana in the disguise of a beggar; abducted Sita Devi to his kingdom, Lanka.
There are other places around Bhadrachalam which are all very interesting. There is this place called Yetapaka located 2 km from Bhadrachalam where the bird Jatayuvu, an ardent devotee of Rama tried to obstruct Ravana from abducting Sita Devi. There is a place called Dummugudem where Lord Rama is said to have killed 14,000 demons. And there is this place where River Sabari joins River Godavari. It is at this place that a devotee Sabari gave shelter to Sita, Rama and Lakshmana on their way to Parnashala and offered fruits to Rama after tasting them out of affection towards Rama. This River is named after her.
I have enjoyed short boat rides on Godavari at Bhadrachalam but many members of my family have enjoyed daylong cruises more than once on motorized ferries on River Godavari. They have explained to me how they have enjoyed the scenic beauty of Papikondalu and the river on these large ferries passing amidst a very long stretch of serpentine hills on either side of the mighty River Godavari.   
And not far from Bhadrachalam is the Kinnerasani Dam. Kinnerasani River is a tributary of River Godavari. The construction of the Dam has resulted in Kinnerasani’s catchment area becoming a huge and beautiful lake with hills and trees all around making it a very popular picnic spot for local people and tourists. At almost the center of the Lake is a huge island filled with trees, adding beauty to this place. And there is huge Deer Park here, which is a big attraction.
During this journey we get to see the largest Thermal Power Generating Plant of Telangana State in Paloncha and the Coal Mines at Kothagudem which are within 30 km form Bhadrachalam.
We visit Bhadrachalam once in few years and I have always enjoyed my visits as much as my elders, who are very strongly connected with this place.  
THEMES OF WORLD TOURISM DAY
The theme of 1980 was “Tourism’s contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage and to peace and mutual understanding”.
The theme of 1981 was “Tourism and the quality of life”.
The theme of 1982 was “Pride in travel: good guests and good hosts”.
The theme of 1983 was “Travel and holidays are a right but also a responsibility for all”.
The theme of 1984 was “Tourism for international understanding, peace and cooperation”.
The theme of 1985 was “Youth Tourism: cultural and historical heritage for peace and friendship”.
The theme of 1986 was “Tourism: a vital force for world peace”.
The theme of 1987 was “Tourism for development”.
The theme of 1988 was “Tourism: education for all”.
The theme of 1989 was “The free movement of tourists creates one world”.
The theme of 1990 was “Tourism: an unrecognized industry, a service to be released”.
The theme of 1991 was “Communication, information and education: powerlines of tourism development”.
The theme of 1992 was “Tourism: a factor of growing social and economic solidarity and of encounter between people”.
The theme of 1993 was “Tourism development and environmental protection: towards a lasting harmony”.
The theme of 1994 was “Quality staff, quality tourism”.
The theme of 1995 was “WTO: serving world tourism for twenty years”.
The theme of 1996 was “Tourism: a factor of tolerance and peace”.
The theme of 1997 was “Tourism: a leading activity of the twenty-first century for job creation and environmental protection”.
The theme of 1998 was “Public-private sector partnership: the key to tourism development and promotion”.
The theme of 1999 was “Tourism: preserving world heritage for the new millennium”.
The theme of 2000 was “Technology and nature: two challenges for tourism at the dawn of the twenty-first century”.
The theme of 2001 was “Tourism: a toll for peace and dialogue among civilizations”.
The theme of 2002 was “Ecotourism, the key to sustainable development”.
The theme of 2003 was “Tourism: a driving force for poverty alleviation, job creation and social harmony”.
The theme of 2004 was “Sport and tourism: two living forces for mutual understanding, culture and the development of societies”.
The theme of 2005 was “Travel and transport: from imaginary of Jules Verne to the reality of the 21st century”.
The theme of 2006 was “Tourism Enriches”.
The theme of 2007 was “Tourism opens doors for women”.
The theme of 2008 was “Tourism Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change and global warming”.
The theme of 2009 was “Tourism – Celebrating Diversity”.
The theme of 2010 was “Tourism & Biodiversity”.
The theme of 2011 was “Tourism Linking Cultures”.
The theme of 2012 was “Tourism and Energetic Sustainability”.
The theme of 2013 was “Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future”.
The theme of 2014 was “Tourism and Community Development”.
The theme of 2015 was “Millions of tourists, millions of opportunities”.
The theme of 2016 was “Tourism for All – promoting universal accessibility”.
The theme of 2017 will be “Sustainable Tourism – a tool for development”.

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