What’s better than traveling? How about being reimbursed and rewarded for it, too? Dekho Apna Desh is an ongoing tourism campaign intended to boost domestic travel in India – it’s already been a triumphant success in cultivating excitement for its many lesser-known destination treasures!

Domestic tourism is steadily growing as more Indians flock to mainly outdoor destinations in their home country, including Goa, Jaipur, and Uttarakhand. India now has its sights set on expanding the widely-popular campaign to include international travelers once it becomes safe.

READ MORE: Former Theranos Lab Director Continues Testimony

Dekho Apna Desh’s exciting premise is this: Through 2022, India’s Ministry of Tourism (MoT) will fund the travel expenses of tourists who visit 15 destinations in the country (outside of their home states) within a year. Participants must submit entries of their journeys with photos or videos on the department’s website to be eligible and take a pledge to encourage and inspire others to join in.

When India’s Minister of Tourism, Mr. Prahlad Singh Patel, announced the campaign, backed by Additional Secretary-Tourism Rupinder Brar, he noted that those who take the pledge and complete the task would also be honored as brand ambassadors of Indian Tourism.

It’s no wonder why Dekho Apna Desh has been such a success, despite a slow start due to COVID-19 last year. The initiative was launched in early 2020 by the MoT, inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to encourage Indians to explore their home country and boost the local economy. Of course, that was before a worldwide pandemic brought all travel, including most domestic, to a near halt.

However, the Ministry of Tourism’s Dekho Apna Desh campaign adeptly pivoted to launch an ongoing webinar series to build tourism excitement despite lockdowns. Participants can experience professional and engaging in-depth lessons on different cultural and Indian travel topics from their own homes.

So far, past webinar events have included rich and varied topics like, “Exploring River Nila“ and “Vedic Food and Spices of India.” All the past workshop recordings are available for viewing online.

READ MORE: State Sen. Wiener's Recovery Incentives Act Would Pay Meth Addicts to Stay Sober

Photo: PrahladS Patel/ Twitter, Visittnt via The Logical Indian

In a recent interview with Travelgram, Minister Patel explains, “Our focus is on rebooting the tourism economy by reviving demand. Efforts will be put to promote domestic tourism through the Dekho Apna Desh and Incredible India campaigns. We are making efforts to engage with our stakeholders and citizens to sustain their interest in traveling. Our focus is on rebooting the tourism economy by reviving demand.”

Now that travel in India is reopening, excitement about Dekho Apna Desh is fueled by social media. Travelers have been sharing their fun adventures thus far, both digital and outdoors, driving increased interest for others to take the pledge and join. The pledge, tweeted by the MoT, reads, “Come, let’s be part of our Prime Minister’s vision of Dekho Apna Desh and take a pledge to visit at least 15 destinations by 2022 and dive deep into India’s art, culture, history, and heritage.”

Dekho Apna Desh successfully reconnected India’s residents with their history and cultural heritage, an impressive feat during a year when we could not gather as usual. The campaign includes such rare and beautiful Indian destinations as the Sun Temple at Konark, Kaziranga National Park, and Kumbhalgarh Fort in Rajasthan – which many may not know has the second-largest wall in the world.

These Indian destinations are becoming so popular due to Dekho Apna Desh, that some are already sold out for months – proving this creative campaign’s success! It’s clear that India will be a top travel destination for the next couple of years and beyond. The MoT will soon be releasing itineraries, mobile applications, print calendars, and more promotional materials as the program continues to build.

The best part is that the campaign is also open to anyone wishing to travel to India internationally once travel reopens, and it is safe to do so. Americans will be able to finally stamp their passports again to join in on the country-wide travel tour. International travel has never been so fun or accessible!

MORE NEWS: Lead Utility Regulator Overseeing PG&E Announces Resignation

All who wish to participate are encouraged to take the pledge on the Government of India’s MyGov Pledge website.