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ECOTOURISM IN INDIA

ECOTOURISM IN INDIA

Introduction

  • Eco-tourism refers to ecologically sustainable tourism to areas having ecological and biological diversity or is of environmental interest to ecologically conscious individuals. Generally speaking, the definition of ecotourism varies. 
  • Some deem tourism to ecologically sensitive or interesting areas as ecotourism, while some define it as responsible tourism which aims to minimise the damage caused to the environment through tourism. In India, eco-tourism is popular in national parks and sanctuaries, amongst others. 
  • Ecotourism as a term first emerged during the late 1980s with growing global concern for sustainable practices with regard to ecologies extending towards minimizing the degenerative results of tourism on the environment. 
  • Ecotourism thus imbibes mainly education and interpretation of responsible tourism practices that in practice ensure environmental conservation, is sustainable tourism and looks after the welfare and concerns of local communities.

Ecotourism in India  

  • Ecotourism was introduced in India after the World Tourism Organization announced 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism coming under the United National Environmental Program. 
  • In its conjunction of environmental conservation co-operating with the market mechanism, it became a very popular ideology within India’s policy establishment. 
  • However, according to Kumar (2015), although India has flourishing entrepreneurship in its tourism industry, sustainable ecotourism as learning and intimacy with nature practically seems non-existent in India. 
  • The consciousness of nature in terms of sustainability and conservation seems to be largely insufficient among tourists in India to form a practice of ecotourism within India’s policy infrastructure.
  • Many ecotourism hotspots exist in India such as in the Himalayan region, Kerala, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and many more.
  • Thenmala in Kerala is India’s first planned and certified ecotourism destination. Other than this there are many national parks and sanctuaries in India that act to cater to tourism and work towards environmental conservation at the same time (Eco India, 2008).

Positive Impact Of Ecotourism

  • Boosts economic development in areas surrounding reserves through sustainable development
  • Creation of employment opportunities for the locals
  • It acts as a deterrent to poaching as a steady flow of tourists hampers the secretive activities of poachers, and provides no scope for collusion between forest officials and poachers.
  • Preservation of local culture … ( ECOTOURISM IN INDIA ) 
  • Creates an interest and awareness among the people about India’s indigenous flora and fauna. It acts as a forum to educate and encourage conservation efforts
  • Increases the revenue derived from tourism
  • Encourages participation of local community in protecting and conserving the area where they reside. 

Negative impact of Ecotourism

  • Eco-tourism propels only basic conservation of flora and fauna that is sufficient to attract tourists. In reality, it does more harm than good. The tourists arrive in and ride around the parks in vehicles which pollute the environment and scare the animals. The incessant flow of tourist disturbs the animals. Also, tourists leave behind garbage such as plastic bottles etc. which lead to environmental degradation
  • Eco-tourism takes away livelihoods from the locals, and in return provides them with low-paying subordinate positions in the resorts etc that are established. No viable long-lasting employment opportunities with scope for growth are provided to the locals.
  • The substantial economic benefits that are being derived from ecotourism has resulted in excessive commercialisation that has resulted in flagrant violation of rules, guidelines etc that have been put in place for protecting the environment and the rights of the people
  • Mismanagement of eco-tourism sites causes more harm than any little good that eco-tourism brought about
  • To cater to the increasing demand for eco-tourism, land around parks and sanctuaries is being cleared through deforestation, displacement of people etc. to accommodate hotels, resorts etc.

Measures to promote Ecotourism 

  • We should combat the environmental problems at tourist places by controlling the country’s rate of development.
  • A section should be reserved for maintaining natural environment at the places of tourism.
  • Tourism comprises complete system of nature which includes the man and his activities, wild life, mountains and valleys, rivers, forests, social and cultural system etc. So, the whole system requires an environmental and ecological preservation and should be promoted. (ECOTOURISM IN INDIA) 
  • By providing better conservative and promoted natural environment, we can attract more tourists. 
  • India has very rich and diverse places to tour and will have better chances to promote eco-tourism.

Conclusion  | ECOTOURISM IN INDIA

  • Ecotourism that is not properly implemented in a learned manner can thus fall prey to commercialization, and more often than not commercial interests can overrun the pedagogy of policy on the ground level. 
  • Ecotourism that is commercially intended also runs the risk of imposing human intervention in regions that were previously pristine natural habitats. 
  • However, if pedagogy is correctly installed purely as a learning experience for tourists, much can be gained in terms of awareness and agency for environmental conservation and sustainability. 
  • Without a proper pedagogical infrastructure in place, ecotourism can easily fall prey to commercial exploitation that may claim to protect the environment but can have extensive knock-on effects to the detriment of environmental conservation. 
  • Sustainable ecotourism thus requires that a proper pedagogy in policy can be correctly installed.

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