ECO-TOURISM: AN INTRODUCTION

ECO-TOURISM

INTRODUCTION

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  • Eco-tourism is more than a catch phrase for nature loving travel and recreation.
  • Eco-tourism is consecrated for preserving and sustaining the diversity of the world’s natural and cultural environments.
  • It accommodates and entertains visitors in a way that is minimally intrusive or destructive to the environment and sustains & supports the native cultures in the locations it is operating in.
  • Responsibility of both travellers and service providers is the genuine meaning for eco-tourism.
  • Eco-tourism is considered the fastest growing market in the tourism industry, according to the World Tourism Organization with an annual growth rate of 5% worldwide and representing 6% of the world gross domestic product, 11.4% of all consumer spending – not a market to be taken lightly.

IMPORTANCE OF ECO-FRIENDLY TOURISM

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  • In the past few years, the travel and tourism industry has been on an exponential rise in India and abroad, primarily because of the vast knowledge sharing happening via social media like Facebook, Twitter.
  • A lot of other factors like better transport connectivity, a rise in luxury budget hotels have also supported the growth of the travel and tourism industry.
  • A lot of Startups have come up and are offering various perks and discounts to the customer in the form of promotional e-cash, flight miles, voucher coupons if the customer books through their website.
  • This all provides a win-win situation for both the company and the customer, and the customer slowly gets bitten by the travel bug
  • .Locations in Himachal Pradesh like McLoedganj, Triund, Kasol, Kheerganga, Manali have become flooded with tourists as these places are located just a couple of hours journey from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.
  • The tourists which come in a flock usually leave the place dirty and messy with their litter and ruin the natural beauty of the destination.
  • Hence Eco Tourism is the need of the hour.

KEY PRINCIPLES

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  • Minimize impact
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation
  • Ecotourism include local communities in the activities of planning, development and operation, and it contributes to their welfare
  • Environmentally educative
  • Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate
  • Support international human rights and labour agreements
  • Ecotourism is intended mainly for individual visitors and small organized groups.
  • Generates tourist satisfaction.
  • Ecotourism actively contribute to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage.

MANAGEMENT

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  • Ecotourism has received much attention in recent years especially within the developing world.
  • Ecotourism in simple terms means management of tourismand conservation of nature in a way so as to maintain a fine balance between there quirements of tourism and ecology on the one hand and needs of the local communities for jobs, new skills, income generating employment and a better status for women on the other.
  • Tourism policy provides the guidelines, goals and objectives and tourism planning is the process of identifying objectives anddefining evaluations.
  • In India the emergence of alternative tourism promotes natural and culturalevents and others.
  • Few promising alternative tourism paths include green tourism,ecotourism, eco cultural tourism, heritage tourism etc.
  • Ecotourism developed in India in 1970s and 1980s.
  • Ecotourism was globally identified as a means ofachieving twin goals of bio diversity conservation and sustainable development.
  • Both short-term goals and long term goals can be achieved without sacrificingone’s own interests.
  • Sustainable tourism and nature tourism are umbrella concepts that include ecotourism.
  • India, the land of varied geography offers several tourist destinations that not just de-stress but also rejuvenate people.
  • There are several ways to enjoy Mother Nature in the most pristine way.
  • The few places like the Himalayan region, Kerala, the North-East India, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep Islands are some of the places where you can enjoy the treasured wealth of the Mother Nature.

HOW TO PLAN ECO-FRIENDLY TOURISM

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1.PACK LIGHT-  Lightening up your load saves money on baggage fees and increases plane fuel-efficiency. Pack items that can be washed in the sink and are quick drying so they can be worn multiple times during your trip. We recommend (but do not receive compensation from) the ExOfficio brand, and wear it everywhere we travel.

2.SAVE WATER–   Take shorter showers, turn off the faucet while shaving and brushing your teeth, and re-use towels for multiple days. And NEVER use the hotel laundry, as they typically wash each guest’s clothes separately, even if there are only a few items.

3.SAVE ENERGY-   When you leave your hotel room, turn off the lights, heat/AC and TV. Consider leaving the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door so that the housekeeping staff won’t clean your room every day, which will save on harsh chemical cleaning supplies and the electricity of vacuuming and washing bed linens.

4.REDUCE/REUSE/RECYCLE-   Take a BPA-free water bottle you can refill, use just one bar of soap for both sink and shower, return brochures and maps once you’re finished using them, and hold on to your trash until you find a place to recycle it.

5.   BUY LOCAL-  Seek out indigenous artisans and learn about their craft.

.6.  LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS-  Stick to marked trails to avoid harming native flora, and consider taking a bag to pick up trash along your journey. Not only is it a great way to help keep the outdoors beautiful, but it also protects wildlife that might eat or get tangled in the garbage.

7.  BE A TRAVELER, NOT A TOURIST-  Take time to immerse yourself in the local music, art and cuisine. Embrace the cultural differences that make it unique. Get to know the locals and how they view life. You might be surprised at the things you learn when you open your mind to new ideas!

8.  HONOR LOCAL TRADITIONS-  Some cultures have very different traditions from yours. Women are forbidden to show skin in some Muslim countries. For some, being photographed in like having your soul stolen. Understand and respect these traditions, or risk offending the people whose culture you’re there to experience.

9.  GIVE BACK-   Traveling gives you a unique experience that stays with you for the rest of your life. In return, consider giving something back, such as bringing school supplies on tours in which you know you’ll interact with locals.

10. SHOP SMARTER- Read labels, and ask questions like “What is this item made from?” All over the planet people sell items made from non-sustainable hardwoods, endangered species, and ancient artifacts. It may be alright in their country to sell them, but you can still vote with your wallet by refusing to buy them.

AWARENESS OF THE ENVIRONMENT

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Today the “Green Laws” of conservation are making people aware of how man and the environment can live symbiotically for more time to come and eco-tourism is the only way to maximize the economic, environmental and social benefits of tourism. Everyone is a stakeholder in the process and we clearly need to avoid our past shortcomings and negative impact that they have had. In India too the movement is gathering momentum with more and more travel and travel related organisation’s are addressing the needs of the eco-tourists and promoting eco-tourism in the country. Some basic do’s and don’ts of eco-tourism are listed below:

Do’s

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