The Indian government is offering travellers the chance to explore India and win a prize - if you can get to all 15 destinations by the end of 2022.
This is part of an innovative new campaign called Dekho Apna Desh (‘See Your Country’), as India’s Prime Minister Modi looks to inspire and encourage more domestic tourism to help stimulate recovery from the pandemic.
Due to travel restrictions, the scheme is only open for Indian residents at present, but when international travel reopens the opportunity will be available for international visitors too.
The 15 destinations are:
- Kaziranga National Park
- Mahabodhi Temple
- Humayun’s Tomb
- Amer Fort
- Somnath Temple
- Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri
- Ajanta Ellora
- Red Fort and Qutub Minar
- Konark Sun Temple
Start planning your trip on our interactive map below:
How did the scheme start?
Last year, Prime Minister Modi began the push to encourage domestic tourism as part of a wider plan to stimulate India’s economy. "I know people travel abroad for holidays, but can we think of visiting at least 15 tourist destinations across India before 2022," he said in a speech.
At the start of this year, Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, promised to make Modi’s idea a reality, launching the wider pledge.
"We will start a mass movement encouraging every Indian to visit more domestic destinations, this will boost up local as well as national economy," he said last month.
While local travel is a more practical offering during a pandemic, it’s also, importantly, a more sustainable and affordable approach to tourism.
The destinations have all been chosen to cover a wide geographical spread to show off India’s diversity and rich cultural, social and historical heritage. In addition, particular care has been taken to choose locations embedded within nature, allowing visitors to experience the outdoor sights safely, taking all the COVID precautions into account.
Is it working?
So far 142,368 citizens have joined the Dekho Apna Desh pledge, with almost three-quarters aged between 25-40.
It seems to have been a resounding success so far, with many of the destinations already fully booked for the foreseeable future.
India’s Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel has said that the country’s tourism industry is reviving faster than expected thanks to the Dekho Apna Desh initiative.
Where would you go first on this list? Let us know on Twitter by tagging @euronewstravel.
This article has been updated to reflect a statement from the Ministry of Tourism.