Study Visit in India, Boosting Community-based Tourism and Youth work for Global Sustainable Development (BOCOTO)

The third study visit of the BOCOTO project took place in India, in the region of Odisha from 10 to 20 November, involving youth workers and representatives of partner associations from Italy, Kenya and Spain. The project aims to increase the capacity of youth organizations & local communities to initiate and develop community-based tourism in rural areas which can support them in overcoming social, economic and environment challenges and contribute to the global sustainable development of our globe.

The host organisation of the study visit was our partner ACDS (Association for Community Development and Solidarity). ACDS is a secular, non-profit making organization initiated with the objective of enabling marginalized people to become empowered to take control of their lives, resources and democratic institutions; through people’s organizations, training & capacity-building and networking.

The work of ACDS is focusing on the following priorities:

  1. People’s control over resources like land, water, forest, commons and livelihoods.
  2. Radical democratization of the society, economy and polity at all levels
  3. Assertion of women and girls’ rights as human rights
  4. Children are recognized as political and equal citizens
  5. A Socially just, secular, violence free and peaceful society and state
  6. Solidarity with struggles and progressive actions beyond local boundaries.

ACDS in the previous period has given key importance to the tribal communities living in Sundargarh district of Odisha.

During the Study visit, the project team visited:

  • Bhubaneswar, its cultural, historical sights as well as the impressive and amazing Kalinga Institute of Social Science, a residential school providing quality education for 27 000 tribal children.
  • Konark, where the holy full moon festival ‘Kartika Purnima’ has been held together with locals on the shore of the Bay of Bengal.
  • Raghurajpur, a small heritage craft village of Puri district, whose residents are well-known Pattachitra painters and Gotipua traditional dancers.
  • The Mangalajodi Ecotourism and Bird Sanctuary at the Chilika Lake.
  • Balugaon, where ACDS has presented the BOCOTO project and its team in front of a large audience
  • The community and the heritage of Kalijai.
  • Sundargarh, the main project area of ACDS, where a joint tribal cultural program and meeting has been held.
  • The Satkosai Sand Resort in Badmul, a successful CBT initiative which opened only 3 years ago.
  • Pabingia, a rural village and its community

At the last part of the Study visit the team has been reflecting and evaluating their experience and shared further comments and ideas about the key factors that shall be considered related to CBT initiatives.

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