Eco-tourism is more
than a catch phrase for
nature loving travel and recreation. Eco-tourism is
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.
endeavours to encourage and support the diversity of local economies
for which the tourism-related income is important. With support from
tourists, local services and producers can compete with larger, foreign
companies and local families can support themselves. Besides all these,
the revenue produced from tourism helps and encourages governments to
fund conservation projects and training programs.
Saving the environment around you and preserving the natural luxuries
and forest life, that's what Eco-tourism
is all about. Whether it's
about a nature camp or organizing trekking trips towards the unspoilt
and inaccessible regions, one should always keep in mind not to create
any mishap or disturbance in the life cycle of nature.
focuses on local cultures, wilderness adventures,
volunteering, personal growth and learning new ways to live on our
vulnerable planet. It is typically defined as travel to destinations
where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary
attractions. Responsible Eco-tourism
includes programs that minimize
the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment,
and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in
addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, initiatives
by hospitality providers to promote recycling, energy efficiency, water
reuse, and the creation of economic opportunities for local communities
are an integral part of
Historical, biological and cultural conservation, preservation,
sustainable development etc. are some of the fields closely related to
Many professionals have been involved in formulating and
developing eco-tourism policies. They come from the fields of
Geographic Information Systems, Wildlife Management, Wildlife
Photography, Marine Biology and Oceanography, National and State Park
Management, Environmental Sciences, Women in Development, Historians
and Archaeologists, etc.
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
What is Eco-tourism?
Fundamentally, eco-tourism means making as little environmental impact
as possible and helping to sustain the indigenous populace, thereby
encouraging the preservation of wildlife and habitats when visiting a
place. This is responsible form of tourism and tourism development,
which encourages going back to natural products in every aspect of
life. It is also the key to sustainable ecological development.
The International Eco-tourism
Society defines eco-tourism as
"responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and
improves the well-being of local people." This means that those who
implement and participate in Eco-tourism
activities should follow the
environmental and cultural awareness and respect
positive experiences for both visitors and hosts
direct financial benefits for conservation
financial benefits and empowerment for local people
sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social
international human rights and labour agreements
Aware of the Environment
Today the "Green Laws" of conservation are making people aware of how
man and the environment can live symbiotically for more time to come
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.
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:
back all non-degradable litter such as empty bottles, tins, plastic
bags etc. These must not
litter the environment or be
buried. They must be disposed in municipal dustbins only.
the sanctity of holy sites, temples and local cultures.
noise pollution. Do not blare aloud radios, tape recorders or other
equipment in nature resorts,
sanctuaries and wildlife parks.
case temporary toilets are set-up near campsites, after defecation,
cover with mud or sand. Make
sure that the spot is at least
30 meters away from the water source.
people's privacy while taking photographs. Ask for prior permission
before taking a
not take away flora and fauna in the forms of cuttings, seeds or roots.
It is illegal, especially in
the Himalayas. The environment
is really delicate in this region and the bio-diversity of the region
has to be protected at all
not use pollutants such as detergent, in streams or springs while
washing and bathing.
not use wood as fuel to cook food at the campsite.
not leave cigarettes butts or make open fires in the forests.
not consume aerated drinks, alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicant and
throw bottles in the wild.
not tempt the locals, especially children by offering them foodstuff or
sweets. Respect local
and plastics are non biodegradable and unhealthy for the environment
and must not be
used and littered.
As a traveller, you will have an impact on the environment and culture
of the place you are visiting. Here are some rules of thumb to make
this impact positive!
Golden Rules When You Travel
about your destination before you get there. Read guidebooks, travel
and/or novels by local authors
and pay particular attention to customs such as greetings,
appropriate dress, eating
behaviours, etc. Being sensitive to these customs will increase local
acceptance of you as a tourist
and enrich your trip.
established guidelines. Ask your eco-tour operator, guide and/or the
local authorities what
their guidelines are for
limiting tourism's impact on the environment and local culture. Staying
trails, packing up your trash,
and remaining set distances away from wildlife are a few ways to
minimize your impact in
out and support locally owned businesses. Support local businesses
during your eco-travels to
ensure maximum community and
conservation benefit from your spending.
is still at a very nascent stage, but there are
for sure conscious efforts to save the fragile Himalayan Eco System and
culture and heritage of the indigenous people, which is probably the
largest concentration in the world.
Holiday Camping vis a vis Hotel accommodation are gathering momentum
amongst the metropolis traveller. A plethora of holiday camping options
are available in the Himalayan belt, where soft adventure tourism is
packaged with holiday camping to create an acceptable eco-tourism
product. Resorts tucked deep inside jungles of Karnataka, House-boats
of Kerala, Tree Houses at Vythiri combine to make India one of the most
diverse eco-tourism destinations on the planet. Some of these are given
The Camp BodhiSatva - Rajgarh, Himachal Pradesh
The Himalayan Trout House - Tirthan, Himachal Pradesh - www.questrails.com
on Organic Farming & Eco-Tourism:
Saat-tal Camp - Saat-tal, Nainital
The Camp Purple - Mukteshwar
The Camp Kyari (one of the finest models of Eco-tourism in the country)
- Village Kyari, Ramnagar - www.wildrift.com
Silver Sands - Rishikesh, Uttaranchal
These are but a selective panorama on the Indian Eco-tourism products.
Some other eco-tourism spots in India are well detailed on the website http://ecoclub.com/india.html
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