Importance of Eco Tourism in India

Arnav Mathur | 04-Nov-2016

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.

Once the customer comes out of his shell and starts travelling, he starts exploring the unexplored beauty of different places, becomes an extrovert and starts socialising with the localities and fellow travellers. This unleashes a wide range of possibilities to travel and explore without creating a hole in the pocket.

Importance of EcoTourism in India

Source - https://goo.gl/rbaIGu and www.tripoto.com

However, this rise of the travel industry has also resulted in the deterioration of certain places which were quaint and beautiful at one point in time but now are flooded with tourists and the natural beauty has degraded.

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.

But what is Eco-Tourism?

Fundamentally, eco-tourism means making a 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 a 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 Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people."

It's high time one needs to be conscious towards the environment and make sure that his leisure activities won't harm the natural beauty of the place. A responsible Traveller (Wanderer + Traveller) shall keep the following Do’s and Don’ts in mind on their next trip.

Do’s

  1. Carry 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 of in municipal dustbins only.
  2. Observe the sanctity of holy sites, temples and local cultures.
  3. Cut noise pollution. Do not play loud radios, tape recorders or other electronic entertainment equipment in nature resorts, sanctuaries and wildlife parks.
  4. In 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.

Don'ts

  1. Do 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 costs.
  2. Do not use pollutants such as detergent, in streams or springs while washing and bathing.
  3. Do not use wood as fuel to cook food at the campsite.
  4. Do not leave cigarettes butts or make open fires in the forests.
  5. Do not consume aerated drinks, alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicant and throw bottles in the wild.
  6. Polythene and plastics are non-biodegradable and unhealthy for the environment and must not be used and littered.

I know a lot of Do’s and Don’ts listed above are pretty common and termed as general awareness, however despite this general awareness which every educated person has, there is still a lot of litter at all the popular tourist spots and trekking trails around the country.

If one happens to visit the popular hill stations like Kasol (Parvati Valley), McLoedganj or the popular trekking routes such as Triund, Kheerganga one is sure to find toffee wrappers, chips packets, plastic water bottles littered all around. This litter creates a negative image in the mind of fellow travellers from different parts of the world.

The reason of emphasising Triund and Kheerganga is primarily that these are comparatively easy treks which can be done in a day or two and don’t need too much of trekking gears. What was once a quaint little camping ground, has now become a public camping ground with tents and toilets fixed permanently.

Hence as responsible travellers, one must keep their actions in control and avoid littering any of the places they travel to. Seeing that we don’t litter and keep our trash in our bags instead of dumping it, the other passed by tourists will also observe it and start implementing it. And this is how we will be able to restore the natural beauty of the places by decluttering it.

Eco Tourism also means to help support the local biodiversity by supporting the locals who live with bare minimum damage to the environment. Instead of shopping at big supermarkets, one can prefer to shop the same things in smaller shops thus helping the local people running the shop.

If you feel that you are good in a certain language or a subject, volunteer with NGO’s to share your knowledge with the locals who have very little connection to the outside world. You can even volunteer and do some work along the locals such as working on a field, running a café/dhaba. Often you can exchange your skills in which you are doing volunteering work for free accommodation and food, which makes it a Win-Win for both the parties. This also given you a lot of exposure to the local culture and if you have got the resources, you can even help in your own capacity to improve the standard of living of the locals.

As a 20 something youth in India bitten by the travel bug, I urge my fellow travellers to read the passage and share it widely before it’s too late, and all our tourist places become so dirty that the travel industry, instead of growing, starts to decline.

Thanks for reading the article, for more articles like this you can check out http://eattravelliveandrepeat.blogspot.in

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Fagnum.com. The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.
About the Author
Arnav Mathur
Arnav is a civil engineer by profession and a hard core foodie and a travel aficionado at heart. Being an Army brat by birth, travelling and socialising is in his DNA. His belief is : "Go to a new place every month or two to explore, relax and live life to the fullest."