Culture and tourism are primary drivers of local economies. Both creates jobs locally in a sustainable way. We need focused training, development funds for local heritage sites, marketing budgets and basic facilities such as toilets, cafes, visitors’ centres and green transportation. Delhi has over 1,099 listed heritage monuments, all waiting to be rediscovered. The Aga Khan Foundation’s work in this area is an example of integrated development.
Annual cultural festivals and daily shows at the backdrop of a heritage monument will allow tourists an opportunity to stay at night, boosting food and transport sector. Much of the income can be used in preserving the heritage.
Entertainment districts traditionally contribute to a city’s economy. Broadway offers $9-11 billion and West End £5-7 billion through its restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, bars and concerts. The Jaipur Literature Festival contributes over Rs 25 crore to its local economy.
Government needs to build sustainable projects, including theatres, museums, rehearsal spaces, galleries, digital labs in a public partnership.
Brazil has created a multitude of cultural centres, funded by the tax-payers and the city governments. The UK’s lottery fund is another example of creating a funding mechanism as is the US’ tax incentive policy to support the arts through private investment and endowments. Intervention through the arts generates wealth in a sustained manner, allowing people and communities to grow.
By Sanjoy K Roy – Originally posted at The New Indian Express Sunday Standard on 17th Jul 2016 – www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard