Owing to increasing connectivity the globe is getting smaller and smaller day by day, and people of different parts of the world come to know more of one another. One can know about a place by internet, books, films etc. But visiting a place makes one all about the subjects more intimate apart from giving a feeling of nearness and satisfying curiosity. That’s why tourism is a rapidly growing industry.
Odisha is one of the gifted states in the country to boast of its colorful tribal population which nearly one fourth of its total population. In spite of various forces penetrating into tribal areas in recent years, these tribal communities have, more or less, tried to retain their core culture having high human values. The picturesque hills and forests, hill stream, waterfalls and the tribe’s colorful dances and songs, their arts and crafts, etc. have been attracting the tourist( both domestic and foreign) in large number. A well thought out plan and its careful implantation for promotion of tribal tourism would lead to sustainable development of both the tourism sector and that of the tribal communities. One of the important points of keep in mind is that to bring the cultural heritage of the tribal communities into the economic circuit.
Things which attract tourists in tribal area are the natural environment. Eye pleasing Alasi(Mustard) fields on the hill slopes and Dangar lands in South Odisha, the sacred groves where tribal deities are worshiped, tree huts to watch the crop fields, their primitive houses built with indigenous architectural technology, each tribe more or less, has a unique house pattern and arrangement all are boon to tribal tourism. These virtues of art and joy, one gets immense pleasure in listening melodious songs of tribal women while they are transplantation work in the paddy fields. Tribal dance, songs have greatly enriched the composite culture of Indian national life. Their arts and crafts have great artistic value. Their sense of beauty and creativity is found in their wall painting, wood carving and weaving of clothes and garments. Indigenous umbrellas made of forest leaves and ropes, horn crafts, golden grass crafts, bamboo and cane crafts; terracotta works etc. which are demanded by the tourists to take with them in order to keep as a souvenir and to decorate their houses in cities and towns. Rural tribal weekly markets are the mirror of tribal culture.
Government should take steps for promotion of tribal tourism. Promotion of eco-tourism would automatically lead to the development of tribal tourism. Some villages are to be selected in rich areas as “Eco village”. Such village must represent the folk culture and tradition, and must equip with traditional songs, dances, arts and crafts, so that tourists will be tempted to spend a day or two in such villages. Tree house stay, serving with local food and drinks, agro tours to farm sites, expert guides with adequate knowledge about the place locality, tribal communities, local language and their culture, establishment of mini tribal museums are perquisites for promotion of tribal tourism. Tribal products sell centers in strategic places, if this done in a planned manner; it will go a long way in enhancing the economic status of the tribals.
The areas of Odisha mostly found amongst hills and forests have become the grazing land of Maoist and Naxlites. The peaceful atmosphere of the past is no more there, road blockages, fierce battle between police, Para military forces and Naxals during combing operations as a result, loss of lives of people discourage tourists to enter into these areas. Hence, all efforts are needed to make free the tribal area from the clutches of fanatical elements. One of the important aspects to promote tribal tourism is to check further deforestation in tribal areas and regenerate forest in large scale. The tribal suffer poor communications, lack of safe drinking water, electricity and health facilities need to be address.
What the tourist really look for is a comprehensive and well coordinate service package and quality of services. Quality of hospitality and guest entertainment is very much found in tribal culture. It is to be encouraged and properly channelized. The government as well as the people of Odisha must join hands for development of eco-tourism in general and tribal in particular.