YES Bank and Queen Margaret University in Scotland are collaborating in order to develop a cooperative tourism initiative for rural India. The project will initially be implemented in Uttarakhand and West Bengal and seeks to promote sustainable economic development through the inclusion of cooperatives in tourism activities. MUMBAI: Private sector YES Bank has been appointed as Country Manager-India by Queen Margaret University ( QMU) of Scotland for the development of a cooperative tourism project in rural India.

The pilot project is aimed at showcasing the potential of tourism in achieving inclusive and sustainable economic development and the need to introduce an innovative scalable business model with involvement of cooperatives, a press release issued here today stated.YES Bank is the only Indian bank in this partnership, which will demonstrate a first-of-its-kind knowledge exchange platform between academic and business tourism specialists, international NGOs and a bank with the objective to achieve development in rural India.

The project has initially identified two states — Uttarakhand and West Bengal — to undertake this initiative. The agreement was signed on March 8 by Queen Margaret University and YES Bank in Edinburgh.

The project, which is being funded from the Scottish government’s International Development Fund, will establish a cooperative tourism development project in rural India that will run over a period of two years and nine months.

Queen Margaret University, the lead partner, has experts with substantial proficiency in international tourism and social enterprise projects in its School of Business and Management & Enterprise and will contribute through its research on the development of a sustainable business model.

It will work in partnership with Dunira Strategy, an Edinburgh-based tourism consultancy firm, which will directly oversee destination development under the project. The project aims to use Scottish expertise to deliver sustainable economic development to some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged communities in rural India.

Through its Strategic Initiatives & Government Advisory Division (SIGA), YES Bank, as Country Manager, will facilitate in-country activity and expertise, including advising the project on home-country dynamics, leveraging local networks, introductions to key stakeholders, project-related activities and logistics in the field.

The bank will jointly document outcomes toward showcasing its potential as a mass-development model in India and internationally, including taking this to the government of India for its consideration as a part of policy.

YES Bank Founder, Managing Director & CEO Rana Kapoor said, “YES Bank has consistently advocated the need for innovative and inclusive scalable business models when structuring projects for the micro-sector… This is the way forward not just for rural development in India, but also toward financial inclusion, which can be best achieved by driving growth in the rural economy.”