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ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
INTRODUCTIONEco-tourism is about conserving resources, valuing the local culture and contributing to the local economy. It focuses on local traditions, wilderness conservation, volunteering, personal growth and discovering constructive ways to experience our fragile planet. Recycling, energy efficiency and the creation of economic opportunities for local communities are integral elements of eco-tourism. Its purpose is to make the development of tourism ecologically supportable and sustainable Ecotourism however involves more than providing suitable vacations for the "treehugging" traveller. Its objective is to preserve the diversity of the world's natural and cultural resources. The International Eco-tourism Society defines eco-tourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people." It accommodates travellers in a way that limits their impact on the environment and cultural heritage while supporting the growth of local economies. Eco-tourism strives to maximize the economic, environmental and social benefits of tourism. According to the World Tourism Organization, eco-tourism is considered to be the fastest growing market in the tourism industry. In India, eco-tourism is still at a nascent stage but the potential is vast. India is a land of diverse geography and culture. Its topography boasts a varied range of flora and fauna. It is home to numerous rare and endangered species. There are currently about 80 national parks and 441 sanctuaries in India. Numerous botanical and zoological gardens are working towards the enhancement of the ecosystem. Poaching has been curbed to a large extent. There are severe punishments for poachers, hunters and illegal traders of flora and fauna. Several organisations work for the protection of the natural and cultural resources. Thenmala in Kerala was the first planned eco-tourism destination in India. There are also determined efforts to save the vulnerable Himalayan ecosystem as well as the heritage of its indigenous people. Resorts tucked deep within the jungles of Karnataka, the house-boats of Kerala and the varied wildlife of Assam all combine to make India one of the most diverse eco-tourism destinations on the planet. 2
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Regardless of your nationality, everyone is a stakeholder in this pursuit. Travelling could mean a long-haul flight to the opposite end of the world or hitchhiking across your state. As a traveller, you will undoubtedly have an impact on the people and environment of your destination. Here are some suggestions to make this impact more positive! Learn about your destination. Read guidebooks, travel articles, novels by local authors and pay particular attention to customs such as greetings, appropriate dress and eating behaviours. Being sensitive to these customs will increase local acceptance of you as a tourist and enrich your journey. Follow established guidelines. Ask your tour operator, guide or the local authorities what their guidelines are for limiting tourism's impact on the environment and local culture. To minimize your impact in sensitive areas, stay on marked trails, properly dispose off waste material and remain set distances away from wildlife. Support locally-owned businesses. This ensures maximum benefit for the local community from your spending. Carry back all non-degradable waste such as empty bottles, tins and plastic bags. These must not litter the environment or be buried. These must be disposed of in municipal dustbins only. Observe the sanctity of holy sites, temples and local cultures. Respect local traditions. Reduce noise pollution. Do not blare aloud radios, tape recorders or other audio equipment in nature resorts, sanctuaries and wildlife parks. Respect people's privacy while taking photographs. Ask for prior permission before taking a photograph. Do not remove flora and fauna in the forms of cuttings, seeds or roots. There are laws prohibiting this practice. Most ecosystems are extremely delicate and the protection of bio-diversity is imperative. Polythene and plastics are non-biodegradable and unhealthy for the environment. They must not be used. 3
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA No littering. No exceptions. Do not use pollutants, such as detergent, in streams and springs while washing. Do not use wood as fuel to for cooking at campsites. Do not leave cigarettes butts or make open fires in the Forests. Do not tempt the locals, especially children by offering them foodstuff or sweets
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Chapter 2 Research methodology
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Research methodologyThe following Flow-chart or schematic representation shows the methodology of study:
STUDY TOPIC OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
METHOD OF STUDY
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
2.1 Objectives of the Study To study the concept of travel and tourism and India as a Tourist destination. To study the concept of ecotourism and development of ecotourism in India. To study ecotourism projects implemented in India. To study the concept of eco hotels with an example of Orchid- An eco-hotel.
2.2 Methodology The information collected was mainly through secondary data, namely from reference books, research journals newspapers articles and other articles. The project is purely based on the secondary information obtained from
2.3 Limitations of the StudyThe present project focuses on Eco Tourism. However many states of India have adopted eco tourism, but it was difficult to present information of all the states. Hence few popular eco projects implemented by few states have been discussed.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Chapter 3TRAVEL AND TOURISM
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
3.1 HistoryIt is difficult for us to have a command on the cyclic movement of fashion, needs and requirements and the lifestyles. The process of change is, of course, influenced by the law of nature which forces us to welcome change. If we delay, the seeds of dissatisfaction and monotony, get a conducive nexus for their germination and development. Hence to control or regulate the process, we allow a change which influences our decision making behaviour and forces us to welcome a change of place. It was against this bankground that the tarvelling was transformed into business and of late is an industry. The process of transformation has witnessed a number of ups and downs in almost all areas. Right from the very beginning of culture and civilization, we find process of change continuing, of course as a pilgrimage. There is no dought in it that the Roman Empire injected life, strenght and continuity to travelling and therefore, the credibility for development of tourism industry ultimately goes to them. During the rule of Alexander the Great, 700,000 tourists visited what is now a part of Turkey. This was considerably helped by the well built and organized roads, whilst on the journey groups had the ability to change a team of horses, stay at rest houses, and refreshments were available along the trip. During this time, the roads were crowded. Alexander the Great traveled to India and found the road systems and facilities well arranged. It was during the same period that pleasure travel begun taking place in China and Japan. The Chinese emperor, Wu Di traveled plenty in the 2nd century. His adventures were well described in his writing. During the reign of Elizabeth the 1st tourism reached a high. Coach travel had become popular because of its style. Young gentlemen who came from wealthy backgrounds undertook the Grand Tour in this era. They would travel to parts of Great Britain, France, and Italy, it was considered crucial for the education of the young men. The tour was used improperly on many occasions, the youngsters would go on major shopping sprees and a lot of the time they would meet local ladies and generally behave badly. During the 18th Century, the Industrial revolution changed tourism considerably. A great deal of the rural folk joined the urban society, which 9
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA allowed them more time and money to spend on travel. Thomas Cook was the first person around the world to begin chartered travel and open travel agents. His first chartered trip was a rail trip in which he offered two brass bands, a gala, tea and buns, and speeches for the guests. Thomas cook was of the view that beauty is for the people. The opinion of Mr. Cook generated new dimensions in the tourism business which paved copious avenues for the development of tourism as an industry. The developed, less developed and even the developing countries have assigned due weightage to the tourism industry in their national development agenda. With tremendous socio-economic potentials, the tourism industry is considered to be an economic bonanza which paves avenues for the development of allied industries, such as hotels, communication banking, and transportation and so on. In addition tourism is a potential source for making possible world peace through mutual appreciation and international understanding.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
3.2 ConceptTourism is the act of travel for the purpose of recreation and business, and the provision of services for this act. Tourists are people who are "travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited". The distance between these two places is of no significance. A more comprehensive definition would be that tourism is a service industry, comprising a number of tangible and intangible components. The tangible elements include transport systems air, rail, road, water and now, space; hospitality services accommodation, foods and beverages, tours, souvenirs; and related services such as banking, insurance and safety and security. The intangible elements include: rest and relaxation, culture, escape, adventure, new and different experiences.
3.3DefinitonsOne of the earliest definitions of tourism was given by the Austrian economist Hermann Von schullard in 1910. He defined it as, sum total of operators, mainly of an economic nature, which directly relate to the entry, stay and movement of foreigners inside and outside a certain country, city or a region. Hunziker and Krapf, in 1943, defined Tourism as, Tourism is the totality of the relationship and phenomenon arising from the travel and stay of strangers, provided that the stay does not imply the establishment of a permanent residence and is not connected with a remunerative activities. In 1981 International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism defined Tourism in terms of particular activities selected by choice and undertaken outside the home environment.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
3.4 TYPESTourism may be classified into the following types: 1. Domestic tourism :- This takes place when the residents/citizen of one country travels only withen the country. Thus the Ramanathan family from Madurai making an itinerary that includes the Golden Triangle of delhi, jaipur and agra would de considered as domestic tourism. For India, domestic tourists are the largest- over 100 million and growing fast- and cannot be ignored in any tourism strategy.Major hotel chains like the Taj group, the Oberois, Day,s Inn, the Mahindras with their gateway hotels- all have started catering to this vast market. 2. Inbound tourism:- Yhis involves the travel of a non-resident- be she a foreigner or a national resident in the given country in that country, after arrival from another country. Thus a group of Germans coming in on a charter flight of UVI Holidays and having a 23-day itinerary in India would be inbound tourism.this is growing and at the best of times has reach a figure of 2.5 million for India. 3. Outbound tourism:- this takes place when residents of a country travels to another country or countries. Thus when Chatterjees of Kolkata take up package tour offer of SOTC for a 15-days sojourn to the far east and Australia , they would be classified as outbound tourists. The outbound and Inbound Tour operators have handling agents in the destinations countries; i.e. tie-ups, counterparts etc. The three basic forms can be combined in various ways to derive the following categories of tourism,viz.: Internal Tourism:- This comprises Domestic Tourism and Inbound Tourism. National Tourism:- this comprises Domestic Tourism and Outbound Tourism. International Tourism:- This consists of Inbound Tourism and Outbound Tourism.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
3.5 Special Forms of TourismFor the past few decades other forms of tourism, also known as niche tourism, have been becoming more popular, particularly: Adventure tourism: tourism involving travel in rugged regions, or adventurous sports such as mountaineering and hiking . Agritourism: farm based tourism, helping to support the local agricultural economy. Ancestry tourism: is the travel with the aim of tracing one's ancestry, visiting the birth places of these ancestors and sometimes getting to know distant family. Armchair tourism and virtual tourism: not travelling physically, but exploring the world through internet, books, TV, etc. Audio tourism: includes audio walking tours and other audio guided forms of tourism including museum audio guides and audio travel books. Bookstore Tourism is a grassroots effort to support independent bookstores by promoting them as a travel destination. Cultural tourism: includes urban tourism, visiting historical or interesting cities, such as Berlin, Kathmandu, Lahore, Lima, Buenos Aires, London, Paris, Delhi, Rome, Prague, Dubrovnik, Beijing, Istanbul, Kyoto, Warsaw, and experiencing their cultural heritages. This type of tourism may also include specialized cultural experiences, such as art museum tourism where the tourist visits many art museums during the tour, or opera tourism where the tourist sees many operas or concerts during the tour. Dark tourism: is the travel to sites associated with death and suffering. The first tourist agency to specialise in this kind of tourism started with trips to Lakehurst, New Jersey, the scene of the Hindenburg airship disaster. Disaster tourism: travelling to a disaster scene not primarily for helping, but because it is interesting to see. It can be a problem if it hinders rescue, relief and repair work.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA Drug tourism: travel to a country to obtain or consume drugs, either legally or illegally. Ecotourism: sustainable tourism which has minimal impact on the environment, such as safaris (Kenya), Rainforests (Belize) and hiking (Lapland), or national parks. Educational tourism: may involve travelling to an education institution, a wooded retreat or some other destination in order to take personal-interest classes, such as cooking classes with a famous chef or crafts classes. Extreme tourism: is associated with high risk Gambling tourism, e.g. to Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, California, , Macau or Monte Carlo for the purpose of gambling at the casinos there. Garden tourism visiting botanical gardens famous places in the history of gardening, such as Versailles and the Taj Mahal. Heritage tourism: visiting historical (Rome, Athens, Cracow) or industrial sites, such as old canals, railways, battlegrounds, etc. Health tourism: usually to escape from cities or relieve stress, perhaps for some 'fun in the sun', etc. Often to "health spas". Hobby tourism: tourism alone or with groups to participate in hobby interests, to meet others with similar interests, or to experience something pertinent to the hobby. Examples might be garden tours, amateur radio DX-peditions, or square dance cruises. Inclusive tourism: tourism marketed to those with functional limits or disabilities. Referred to as "Tourism for All" in some regions. Destinations often employ Universal Design and Universal Destination Development principles. Medical tourism, e.g.: for what is illegal in one's own country, e.g. abortion, euthanasia; for instance, euthanasia for non-citizens is provided by Dignitas in Switzerland,for advanced care that is not available in one's own country,in the case that there are long waiting lists in one's own country , for use of free or cheap health care organisations
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA Pop-culture tourism: tourism by those that visit a particular location after reading about it or seeing it in a film. Perpetual tourism: wealthy individuals always on vacation; some of them, for tax purposes, to avoid being resident in any country. Pilgrimage Tourism: pilgrimages to ancient holy places (Rome and Santiago de Compostela for Catholics, Temples and stupas of Nepal for the Hindus and Buddhist, Mount Athos or Painted churches of northern Moldavia for the Orthodox), religious sites such as mosques, shrines, etc. Solo Travel: travelling alone Sport travel: skiing, golf and scuba diving are popular ways to spend a vacation. Also in this category is vacationing at the winter home of the tourist's favorite baseball team, and seeing them play everyday. Space tourism: Vacilando is a special kind of wanderer for whom the process of travelling is more important than the destination.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Chapter 4A PERFECT TOURIST DESTINATION-INDIA
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
4. India A Perfect Tourist DestinationIndia:The land to travel to, a haven of tourism delights, a civilization to tour through. Tourists come to India for its wealth of sights, cultural exuberance, diversity of terrain and in search of that special something, an extra punch that only India promises and delivers. Teeming with over a billion people who voice over a million concerns in fifteen hundred different languages, India is where people live with variety, thrive on diversity and are too familiar with largeness to let it boggle them.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Culture:Few countries of the world have such an ancient and diverse culture as Indias. Stretching back in an unbroken sweep over 5000 years, Indias culture has been enriched by successive waves of migration, which were absorbed into the Indian way of life. It is this variety that is the hallmark of India. Its physical, religious and racial variety is as immense as its linguistic diversity. Underneath this diversity lies the continuity of Indian civilization and social structure from the very earliest times until the present day. Modern India represents a picture of unity in diversity to which history provides no parallel.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Religion:India probably has the most religious diversity in any country. Its the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. Its among the few places to have a resident Zoroastrian population. The Syrian Christian Church is well established in Kerala; the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, old churches in Calcutta and Delhi, synagogues in Kerala, temples from the tiny to the tremendous, stupas, gompas and the Bodhi tree, the Ajmer Sharif and Kaliya Sharif in Bombay, all reflect the amazing multiplicity of religious practice in India. Tribal people in the northeast, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat practice forms of nature worship. Secularism is enshrined in the Constitution.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Language:The national language of India is Hindi, which in one form or another is spoken all over the north. In the Deccan (south India), the languages are completely different. The states were formed on the basis of language so each has its own. On the whole though, dialects, accents, idioms and linguistic flourishes change every few miles. There are 18 official languages but over a thousand recognized dialects. English is widely spoken.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Clothing:To the foreign traveler, one of the most powerful attractions in India is the colorful and diversified attire of the people. The silk saris, brightly colored mirrored cholis, colorful lehangas and the traditional salwar-kameez have fascinated many a traveler over the centuries.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Festivals:The Indian calendar is one long procession of festivals. These are as varied in origin as they large in number. There are innumerable national, regional, local, religious, seasonal and social festivities. This is not surprising considering the fact that India is the land of gods, goddesses, saints, gurus, and prophets. Colour, gaiety, enthusiasm, feasts, and a variety of prayers and rituals characterize festivals here. The scale and multiplicity of the festivities that populate the cultural scene of this land strike travelers as singular.Some of the popular festivals are baisakhi, Buddha purnima, Christmas, deepawali, holi, Ram Navami etc.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Pilgrimage :The Multi hued country, India is probably the ultimate destination of all kinds of pilgrims following any faith around the world. The great religion like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism are the integral part of Indian culture and heritage whose values and faiths are mingled with the air, soil and the sky of India. A pilgrimage tour in the divine land of India will surely bring all the faces of Indian devotions and you will be moved by seeing the unconditional faiths and beliefs of the Indians for God, who may have any name or identity. Your spirituality and devotion is sure to attain a new height after a pilgrimage tour in India and who knows, you may return home with an enlightenment which you have searched for all your life.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Food:From DC to Dakota, Warwick to what-have-you, Indian spices are letting off steam everywhere in the whole wide world. And you come to India and realize......hey, theres nothing authentic about it! Every kitchen, every man, woman, cook, chef does it different. A meal in the north would typically constitute chapattis or rice with dal (lentil curry) and a dish of vegetables or meat. Pappads (wafers fried or toasted to a crisp), yoghurt and pickle are usual accompaniments. Idli, dosa, vada, sambar, uppama! In the south, too, a meal centers on a base of rice, or as in the South Indian case, semolina preparation. Eaten alongside is the SouthIndian dal - "sambhar", sour, hot, souped -up with vegetables. Savory snacks like 24
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA pakoras pep the evening cuppa. Anything coated in batter (of chickpea, flour et al) and deep-fried will pass for pakora. Also, readily available on the roadside are snacks like bhel puri and paapri chaat. Vegetarians will feel like theyve come home, especially in the south. But no matter where you are, in a plush restaurant or a roadside dhaba, in Kunnur or Kullu, you can be sure of sumptuous vegetarian meals. All along the coast and extensively in the northeast fish is consumed almost as a staple. Both fresh water and sea fish are popular. Indians love their sweets. There is great regional variety and among the most popular types is the Bengali "mishti". Theres also a huge variety in drinks. Besides chai (tea) and coffee, sweetened/salty churned yoghurt called lassi, the ubiquitous neemboo-pani or lemon-water, fruit juice in tetra packs and aerated drinks are readily available in India. IMFL expands into Indian made Foreign Liquor and spans the entire range from beer to whiskey. Some examples of local brews are chaang in Arunachal, toddy in the South and Goas famous feni.
Art:The earliest specimens of Indian painting are the ones on the walls of the Ajanta Caves dating back to 2nd century BC. The typical figures in profile art of India came to be when the Jain manuscripts were being illustrated. The Mughals had a huge impact on Indian art. The miniature, which had been only on palm leaves in the northeast, came into prominence. The influence of Persian art brought placid garden scenes, illustrations from myths, legends and history into Indian art. Later schools include the Bengal School of Tagore and the Company School of European influence. More recently the opulent paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, the paintings of M.F. Hussain, Jamini Roy and Ganesh Pyne among others rule the art scene.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Dance:The legacy of dance in India is tremendous. On temple walls, on an urban stage, in impromptu bursts by a mellow evening fire, men and women twinkle their toes in expression of joy. The classical dances of India are numerous. Characterized by stylized movements and elaborate costumes, these dances communicate age-old tales of love, longing and rage. Kathakali of Kerala, Bharatnatyam of Tamil Nadu, Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, Manipuri and Odissi from Orissa are the prominent dance forms in this country that sways to an altogether novel beat. The robust bhangra of Punjabi men, the graceful whirling of Rajasthani women, the gentle sway
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA of northeastern dancers, vigorous tribal dances, every corner has developed its own unique form.
Monuments:While most written records and entire edifices that testify to Indias contribution to civilization have been obliterated over time, some of them from the close of last millennium are an eloquent reminder of the vitality of a civilization that has continued and endured for at least 5000 years. The meeting of different cultural traditions can be seen in the innumerable forts, palaces, monuments and tombs that dot the Indian landscape. Some of the famous monuments are Agra Fort, Charminar, Taj Mahal, Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Qutub Minar etc
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Chapter 5TOURISM IN INDIA
5. Tourism in IndiaOver the last 40 years, international arrivals worldwide rose dramatically from 70 million to 710 million. The tourism industry as a whole is currently estimated to earn over US$ 3.5 trillion worldwide creating a job every 2.4 seconds with every one of those direct jobs creating another 11 indirect ones. Spending on tourism amounts to 5%-10% of total consumer spending in a year, worldwide. India was one of the first countries to become a member of the World Tourism Organization in 1951. The government of India also took note of the new 29
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA phenomenon of international tourism and appointed a committee in 1946 under the chairmanship of Sir John Sargent, Secretary, and Department of Education. In pursuance of its recommendation, the government set up a small tourist branch under ministry of transport in 1949 and in 1951 established four field offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai. In 1955, the Estimates Committee recommended the starting up of a separate Department of tourism, and this was done in 1957. A national apex body, the Tourism Development council, was set up in 1958.in 1951, there were 17,000 tourists who visited India; and in 1980, the number has gone up to 80,150. In 1980, the share of India in international tourism was 0.39 %.the average length of stay, which determines the volume of tourism and foreign exchanged earned from it, is 25 days for India, one of the highest in the world. It is estimated that in 1980 tourist spent between Rs. 5,500 and Rs. 6,000 million in foreign exchange in India. This was 0.79 percent of the estimated total world revenues of US $ 95.3 billion at the 1980 exchange rate. Indias share of the total market is a pittance at 0.15%. Nevertheless, tourism has the distinction of being the third largest export industry after gems and jewellery and readymade garments in India. The significance of tourism in terms of employment generation is rising too. In 1996-97, direct employment in the sector was estimated at about 7 to 9.1 million people, accounting for around 2.4% of the total labour force.
The subcontinent of India lies in south Asia, between Pakistan, china, and Nepal. To the north it is bordered by the worlds highest mountain chain, where foothill valleys cover the north most of the countries states. Further south, plateaus, tropical rain forests and the sandy deserts are lined by palm-fringed beaches. Side by side with the countrys staggering topographical variation is its cultural diversity, the result of the coexistence of a number of religions as well as local traditions. Thus, the towering temples of south India, easily identifiable by their ornately sculptured surface, are associated with a great many crafts and performing arts of the region.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA In the desert of Kutch, Gujarat, on the other hand, a scattering of villages pit themselves against the awesome forces of nature, resulting in Spartan lifestyles made vibrant by a profusion of jewellery and ornamental embroidery. Used to adorn apparel and household linen. In the extreme north is the high- altitude desert of ladakh. Local culture is visibly shaped by the faith of Buddhism as well as by the harsh terrain. Yet another facet of Indian culture is observed in the colourful tribal lifestyles of the North-eastern states of Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, and Manipur with their folk culture. In the central Indian states of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, tribal village life has resulted in a variety of artistically executed handicrafts. Indias mountains provide lazy sunbathing as well as wind-surfing and snorkeling, and its jungles provide shooting wildlife with a camera. In creative arts, Indias sculpture, architecture and painting have had a rich history. The cave architecture of Ajanta and cave wall painting of Ajanta and Ellora, the temples of Khajuraho, the Mughal and Rajasthani paintings and the Taj Mahal are but a few examples of Indias culture heritage. The history of accomplishments in dance, drama and music is equally formidable and impressive. The classical dances still thrive in India, especially in their major forms- Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Kathak and Manipuri. Traditional crafts and textiles have been equally famous from times ancient. They also served to carry forward myths, legends, motifs and other aspects of a culture peculiar to a region. Some famous examples of the craft and art are the warp-weft type of dyeing as seen in textiles from Orissa, embroidery from Bengal and Banarasi silk-brocade from Varanasi.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
6.1 An IntroductionIn the 1990s, tourism received increasing attention especially in developing countries as it is has potential for generating income while creating incentives for conservation. It is argued that tourism allows for the use of areas, which are otherwise of low value, such as remote beaches, but perfectly meet the demands of the growing travel industry (WWF, 1995). In India, for instance, there has been a large increase in 32
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA international tourism in the last few years. In the year 2002, there has been a 14.6% increase in international tourist arrivals along with 22.4% growth in foreign exchange and most of this increase is due to Indias system of national parks and variety of biodiversity present in these parks. Nature-based tourism a sub-sector of tourism can be an important channel for redistributing resources from countries who demand higher nature based vacation to developing countries, which comprise megabiodiversity regions and protected parks (Gossling, 1999). This is because an overwhelming majority of species are located in developing countries. But these developing countries face more serious problems like rapid population growth, debts, over-exploitation of wild resources, agricultural expansion, deforestation etc., which result in the loss of valuable biodiversity and degradation of national parks. Industrialized countries on the other hand are characterized by high and increasing demands for nature-based vacations, with protected areas representing first-rate attractions (WWF, 1995). Tourism could therefore be a means of redistributing economic resources, mitigating the socio-economic situation both at local and national scale and contributing to biodiversity conservation. For nature tourism to be sustainable a number of environmental, economic and social requirements have to be fulfilled. This has led to the introduction of ecotourism, as a nature tourism eco-label. Given the important role played by nature-based tourism, the year 2002 has been declared as the International Year of Ecotouris
6.2. Meaning and ConceptThe World Conservation Union (IUCN) and ecotourism society define ecotourism as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of the local people. However for tourism to be called ecotourism, it should be fully compatible with the conservation goals of the country, while at the same time pose minimum threat to the continuation of local culture and society.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA Moreover, it should contribute by means of income and education to the contribution of ecosystems (Brown et al. 1997). Ecotourism means ecological tourism, where ecological has both environmental and social connotations. It is defined both as a concept-tourism movement and as a tourism (specifically sustainable tourism) section. Born in its current form in the late 1980's, Ecotourism came of age in 2002, when the United Nations celebrated the "International Year of Ecotourism". The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people". Eco-tourism focuses on local cultures, wilderness adventures, volunteering, personal growth and learning new ways to live on the planet. It is typically defined as travel to destinations where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Responsible ecotourism 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 ecotourism.
This industry now recevies rave reviews from environmentally-conscious travellers who immerse themselves in pristine places and authentic experiences. Unlike traditioal tourism, ecotourism promotes environmentally responsible travel and seeks to ensure these visitors take nothing but photographs and leave behind nothing but footprints. An equally important part of the ecotourism equation is sustainable tourism that enables local people to protect their natural and cultural resouces and profit for them at the same time. The truly green traveller also emphasizes the necessity for tours 34
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA that stictly limit group size, co-ordinate with native guides, and denote a percentage of tour profits to community projects or reseach. The ecotourism umbrella seems to shelter all kinds of outdoor travel-related productsfrom beach hotels that happen to be near a rain forest to a national park visit, guided bird watching, or scientist-led Antatartic cruising. It also encompasses adventures, such as trekking, andrivir rafting, as well as rigorous trips to culturally exotic or archaeologically important locations. The general concept of ecotourism arose when conservationists realized the potential benefits in combining peoples interest in nature with their concern for the environment. An early model for ecotourism came from East Africa in the 1970s, when Kenya began collecting fees from safari-bound tourist heading into its natioal parks. Those revenues were earmarked to support conservation and aprk maintenance in its vast wildlife preserves. Another popular destination was the Galapagos Islands,, perhaps the worlds most renowned natural laboratory of flora and funa unique to the region. Ecotourism 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 consumers spending.
Around the globe, eco-tourism is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of vacationing. In an era of heightened environmental consciousness and accessibility to exotic locales, countries are busily promoting their natural resources as lures for tourists. The trick with ecotourism is to preserve the natural resources while also promoting them and accommodating volumes of tourists. Businesses are creating camps and eco-lodges, and natural resource managers are designing trails and tours. Most of the popular eco-travel destinations have fragile eco-systems, however, so it is important to maintain a careful balance between 35
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA preservation and promotion -- "sustainable development" -- in order to ensure the long-term health of both the eco-systems and the tourism economies. Why consider ecotourism: Orange or banana peels that we throw out of car window take almost 2 years Plastic bags and aluminum cans take a whole 100 years to become Glass bottles take a million years to biodegrade, and we still dont know how Three times as much rubbish is dumped into oceans as the weight of fish Discarded fishing nets and bait ties trap and drown birds. Turtles swallow plastic bags, mistaking them for jellyfish. Cigarette butts thrown in forest and parks can cause forest fires; less than 20% to decompose. biodegradable. long plastic containers take. caught.
of Indias is under forest cover. Ideally, true ecotourism should satisfy several criteria, such as: Conservation (and justification for conservation) of biological diversity and cultural diversity, through ecosystems protection. Promotion of sustainable use of biodiversity, by providing jobs to local populations. Sharing of socio-economic benefits with local communities and indigenous people by having their informed consent and participation in the management of ecotourism enterprises. Increase of environmental & cultural knowledge. Minimisation of tourism's own environmental impact. Affordability and lack of waste in the form of luxury. Local culture, flora and fauna being the main attractions.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA How to travel in eco friendly way:1. Do nothing that will harm the social, environmental and ecological wealth of a place. 2.Be sensitive to and respect the customs of the people you are visiting. 3. do not crowd and Gwak at Tribals, aborigines and isolated communities they are people with feelings and value privacy as much as we do. 4. Walk, walk and walk-its the best way to enjoy nature. Besides nothing can be more eco friendly. 5. leave every place cleaner than you found it, even if it means picking up rubbish left by others. 6. While choosing hotels, go for those that support the green hotels-eco-hotels. 7. Buy curios and handicrafts directly from antive people rather than from showrooms and emporia. 8. Do not buy animal skin, ivory products made from endangered species.
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Chapter 7ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
7. Ecotourism in India.7.1 An Introduction.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA To be with nature and enjoy its creations in the most natural way without endangering it is known as ecotourism. It can take several forms: to be in a beautiful natural forest or landscape; to enjoy watching animals, Birds and trees or corals and marine life in a sea; to engage in trekking, boating or rafting; and to wander into sand dunes. These are some of the common forms of ecotourism. Eco tourism also means opening up various possible places for human visit and generate employment and business in process. Though the word ecotourism has gained importance only recently, India has been experiencing it through the ages. India is a rich land in terms of both natural beauty as well as cultural heritage, and this is what eco tourists actually look for in their trip. Hence, those interested in eco tourism have tremendous scope in India. An eco tourism trip in India will not only bring tourist face to face with the exemplary creations of nature and man but will also cultivate an awareness about the importance of all these elements in our lives. It will also arouse an understanding of the importance of keeping our environment clean and beautiful. And all this is not without fun as the eco tourism destinations in India have numerous ways to make a trip entertaining and memorable. All these places have a very different terrain and style of living as such a visit to these places definitely makes the trip enjoyable. Nothing else can be a better option for those who love nature and environment as dearly as their own entertainment.
Geographical diversity of India
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA India is a country of continental dimensions consisting of four distinct regions, namely, the great mountain zone, plains of the Ganga and the Indus rivers, the desert region and the southern peninsula. Almost two-thirds of the Himalaya is in the mountain zone of India, including large plateaus and valleys. The plains of the Ganga and the Indus are formed by basins of three distinct river systems, the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra. The desert region consists of the great desert and the little desert. The great desert extends from the Rann of Kachchh and runs through the RajasthanSind frontier. The little desert extends from the Luni River between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur up to the northern wastes. The peninsular plateau is flanked on one side by the Eastern Ghats and on the other by the Western Ghats. Between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea there is a narrow coastal strip, while between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal lies a broader coastal area. India is thus endowed with every land form, mountains, plains, deserts and sea coasts.
7.2 Ecotourism resources in India The geographical diversity of India has also given it a wealth of eco-systems which are being protected and preserved. They have also become the major 40
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA resources for ecotourism. One specific element is bio-sphere reserves. These are multi-purpose areas protected in order to preserve the genetic diversity and integrity of plants, animals and micro-organisms in representative eco-systems. There are seven such reserves in India at present: Nilgiri; Nanda Devi; Nokrek; Great Nicobar; Gulf of Mannar; Manas and Sunderbans. A second element is mangroves, which are specialized forest eco-systems in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world bordering sheltered sea coasts and estuaries. Major mangrove areas are: Northern Andaman and Nicobar; Sunderbans; Bhitarkanika and Mahanadi Delta; Coringa, Godavari Delta and Krishna Estuary; Pichavaram and Point Calimar; Goa; Gulf of Kutch; Coondapur; Achra/Ratnagiri; and Vembanad. The third element is coral and coral reefs. There are four coral areas identified in India so far: Gulf of Mannar; Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Lakshadweep Islands; and Gulf of Kutch. The fourth element is the great and little deserts in the North-Western region of the country. This is a distinct eco-system which has attracted the fascination of tourists. The fifth element consists of mountain and forests, including great Himalayas and other mountain ranges in the country. Along with their forests, rivers and snow, they have also become great attractions for eco-tourists. The country has an area of about 752 million hectares designated as forests, and of which about 406 million hectares are classified as reserve forests and 215 million hectares as protected forests. India's sixth element is the flora and fauna which are very abundant. There are about 45,000 species of plants, including shrubs. The country also has a great variety of fauna, numbering a little over 65,000 known species, including 1,228 41
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA species of birds, 428 species of reptiles, 372 species of mammals, 204 species of amphibians and 2,546 species of fishes. In order to protect and preserve these genetic resources, India has created 75 national parks and 421 wildlife sanctuaries in different parts of the country. Some have already become popular with tourists, such as Kaziranga and Manas in Assam; Jim Corbett Park in Uttar Pradesh; Bharatpur, Ranthambore and Sariska in Rajasthan; Kanha and Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh; Bandipur in Karnataka; and Simlipal in Orissa.
7.3 Development of ecotourism in India
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA India has consistently included environmental and ecological safeguards in the development of ecotourism in order to avoid gross commercialism. Opening ecological areas for tourism is generally done after careful assessment of carrying capacity to ensure that nature's bounty is not destroyed. India has also always tried to ensure that tourism does not impinge on the culture and heritage. In general, a sound and sensitive environmental approach is adapted to tourism development planning and is integrated with other activities to ensure the following: a) Levels of development are to be compatible with the general capacity of the physical environment and resources. b) Sufficient facilities and services need to be provided to serve tourists and the local population. c) Hotel rooms must be distributed in such a manner that the natural characteristics and qualities of the area are enhanced. d) The three dimensional manifestation of tourism development should be designed carefully and with a sensitivity that merges with the surroundings and enhances the natural beauty. e) Architectural heritage sites and other areas of historic value are to be adequately protected. In the initial years of ecotourism development, greater emphasis was given to the development of tourism in the Himalayas and the deserts. One of the earliest projects was the Gulmarg Winter Sports Resort. However, the focus has been on the provision of basic minimum facilities for visits by eco-friendly tourists to the hills, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Forest lodges and viewing towers were provided in
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA some of the important sanctuaries along with transport facilities in the form of jeeps and elephants. There are several interesting trek routes of varying difficulty in the Himalayas. Facilities like camping sites, trekkers' huts, tents and trekking equipment are provided to encourage the development of a few of these routes and promote trekking tourism. Several bodies of water including lakes, back waters and seas constitute major sources of tourist attractions. Facilities like houseboats, water sports equipment, glass bottom boats, hovercraft, etc. are provided to benefit tourists. Landscaping and upgrading the environment of parks, gardens and other natural areas has been another stream of developmental activity associated with ecotourism. Creation of public conveniences and road side amenities was also given considerable importance in the development process. Some recent initiatives in the development of ecotourism include the establishment of a resort in 1988 with 70 beds at Bangaram Island in Lakshadeep with private sector participation. The crystal clear sea water, abundant marine life and corals provide an ideal setting for enjoying nature's beauty. The Coconut Grove at Kumarakam and Spice Village at Thekady in Kerala are some new additions to India's ecotourism resorts. These are private enterprises which specialize in providing experiences with nature in full measure. India has also been aware of the importance of preparing master plans for the sustainable development of tourism. A study on the sustainable development of tourism at Andaman and Nicobar Islands is now underway with the assistance of UNDP and WTO. Similar studies are also being considered in other areas identified for resort development.
7.4 Promoting ecotourism in India44
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
The key players in the ecotourism business are governments at levels, the local authorities, the developers and the operators, the visitors, and the local community. Each one of them has to be sensitive to the environment and local traditions and follow a set of guidelines for the successful development of ecotourism. In addition, non-governmental organizations and scientific and research institutions also have to play a key role in the development of ecotourism. A management plan for each ecotourism area should be prepared by professional landscape architects and urban planners, in consultation with the local community as well as others directly concerned. Integrated planning should be adopted to avoid inter-sectoral and cross-sectoral conflict. A first step should be to prepare 20-year Master Plans for each state. The architectural program for ecotourism centers should include controlled access points, roads, self-guided nature trails, transportation options, interpretation centers, signs, observation towers and adequate but unpretentious lodging and dining facilities, docks, garbage disposal facilities and other utilities as needed. If required, suitable living quarters and facilities for project personnel should be provided.
7.5 Role and responsibilities45
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Government Responsibilities for Ecotourism 1. Regulate structures that create visual pollution, unaesthetic views and are noncompatible architecture; and encourage use of local building material and structures befitting the local environment. 1. Exclude developments in geologically unstable zones and define development and buffer zones after proper environmental impact assessments. 2. Establish and enforce standards, building codes and other regulations. 3. Specify environmental, physical and social carrying capacities to limit development. 4. Ensure continuous monitoring of adverse effects of tourism activities and initiate suitable corrective measures. 5. Recognize and award quality by accreditation of ecotourism operators. 6. Provide visitor information and interpretation services covering particularly (i)What to see;
(ii) how to see it; and (iii) how to behave. This can be by way of
brochures, leaflets, specialized guides, visitor information centers and such. 7. Prepare and distribute codes of conduct to all visitors. 8. Launch training programs on ecotourism for tourism administrators, planners, operators and the general public.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA The roles and responsibilities of tourism developers and operators are fundamental to the achievement of ecotourism and the long-term success of the businesses. Role and responsibility of tourism developers and operators: 1. Respect and follow the planning restrictions, standards and codes provided by the government and local authorities. 2. Implement sound environment principles through self-regulation. 3. Undertake environmental impact assessment for all new projects and conduct regular environment audits for all ongoing activities, leading to development of environmental improvement programs. 4. Be aware of, and sensitive to, protected or threatened areas, species and scenic amenity; undertake landscape enhancement wherever possible. 5. Ensure that all structures are unobtrusive and do not interfere with the natural ecosystem to the extent possible. 6. Recognize the optimal environmental capacity and sociological use-limits of the site in creating tourist facilities; also take into account the safety and convenience of tourists. 7. Design buildings strictly on functional and environmental considerations and avoid over-construction. 8 Use local material and designs to the extent possible in construction. 9.Employ eco-friendly physical planning, architectural design and construction of tourist facilities, for example use solar energy, capture and utilize rainwater, recycle 47
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA garbage, use natural cross-ventilation instead of air conditioning, ensure a high level of self-sufficiency in food through orchards, ecological farms, aquaculture and such. 10. Employ energy and water-saving practices to the extent possible; freshwater management and controlled sewage disposal should also be practiced. 11. Control air emissions, chemical pollutants and noise. 12. Control and reduce environmentally unfriendly products such as asbestos, CFCs, pesticides and toxic, corrosive, infectious, explosive or flammable material. 13. Respect and support historic or religious objects and sites. 14. Provide information and interpretive services to visitors especially on attractions and facilities, safety and security, local customs and traditions, prohibitions and regulations and expected behavior. 15. Ensure adequate opportunities for visitors to commune with nature and native cultures. 16. Provide correct information in marketing ecotourism products, as visitors who appreciate ecotourism products usually belong to environmentally- aware groups. 17. Include training and research programs on environmental issues for company staff. 18. Prepare tourists before their visit to minimize possible negative impacts while visiting sensitive environments and cultures. 19. Ensure safety and security of visitors and inform them of precautions to be taken.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA 20. Exercise due regard for the interest of the local population, including its history, tradition and culture and future economic development. 21. Involve the local community to the extent possible in various activities and vocations.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA Just as the government authorities and the tourism operators play fundamental roles in the success of ecotourism, so does the tourist. The Responsibilities of Ecotourists 1. Help conserve habitats of flora and fauna as well as any site, natural feature or culture, which may be affected by tourism. 2. Make no open fires and discourage others from doing so. If water has to be heated with scarce firewood, use as little as possible. Where feasible, use kerosene or fuelefficient wood stoves. 3. Remove litter, burn or bury paper and carry back all non-degradable litter. 4. Keep local water clean and avoid using pollutants such as detergents in streams or springs. If no toilet facilities are available, relieve yourself at least 30 meters away from water sources and bury or cover the waste. 5. Leave plants to flourish in their natural environment and avoid taking away cuttings, seeds and roots. 6. Leave campsites clean after use. 7. Help guides and porters to follow conservation measures. Do not allow cooks/porters to throw garbage in streams or rivers. 8. Respect the natural and cultural heritage of the area and follow local customs. 9. Respect local etiquette and do not wear tight-fitting clothes. Remember that kissing in public is disapproved of in India. 10. Respect privacy of individuals and ask permission to take photographs of local inhabitants. 11.Respect holy places; do not touch or remove religious objects. 12. Strictly follow the guidelines for personal safety and security and always take your own precautions and safety measures.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA If a community wants to host ecotourism, it has a central role to play. The host communitys success in bringing ecotourism to it and ensuing that the level and type of tourism is compatible with the communitys aspirations are matters the community can control. The Role and Responsibility of the Host Community:1. Realize and respect the value of the environment, the flora and fauna, the monuments and your cultural heritage. 2. Practice conservation of nature and culture as a way of life. 3. Establish guidelines to protect valuable local resources and foster tourism management. 4. React to the potential threat of investors who see opportunities in development but lack sensitivity to local values. 5. Become effective nature guides and conservationists of natural areas by utilizing practical and ancestral knowledge of the natural features of the area. 6 Be friendly to the visitors and help them to practice ecotourism principles. Finally there is a role for others, such as scientific and research institutions and nongovernment organizations, in promoting ecotourism. The things they can do include: (i) create awareness, among all concerned, about the importance of sound ecopractices in tourism development; (ii) Motivate the local community to increase their involvement in sustainable tourism activities; and (iii) Organize training programs to prepare the local people to take up various vocations related to ecotourism. 51
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7.6 Motivation for Involvement in EcotourismHotel and travel companies in India function in a relatively free environment. The country is slowly but surely moving towards a market economy where commercial considerations dictate motivation for the private sector to take up various activities. Crass commercial considerations have, however, to be controlled by the government on behalf of the public. The environment has to be protected through awarenessgeneration, legislation, policy and administrative action. The traveling public is also becoming conscious of the need to protect the environment, to some extent at least. As a result, many enterprises in the hospitality sector have adopted environment-friendly practices like conserving energy and water and recycling unutilized hotel outputs. These can be powerful marketing tools for hotel groups. Furthermore, with the increase in cost of vital inputs like energy, water etc.; companies are motivated to conserve limited resources by adopting practices which reduce levels of consumption. Many hotel companies advise their clients to be careful in the use of lights, water and other hotel services. Civil society has also begun to exercise control over the environment. Many nongovernment organizations have been generating awareness about environmentally destructive practices. Individuals have taken recourse to public interest litigation to stop environmentally destructive practices. The Indian judicial system has been very liberal in restraining environmentally hazardous activities. At times, political parties also stop environmentally harmful practices by agitation and raising issues in democratic forums such as state legislatures. The print and electronic media have been very active in India in investigating environmentally injurious activities by highlighting such issues and creating public opinion for environmentally compatible practices.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA The Government of India has a Ministry of Environment and Forests with a mandate to oversee use of the environment in order to conserve it. The Government has also set up institutions like the Central and State Pollution Control Board to deal with the defaulters. The state governments also have Departments of Environment and Pollution Control. The Ministry of Tourism has issued ecotourism guidelines for adoption by all concerned organizations. Some tourism bodies and associations like all concerned organizations. Some tourism bodies and associations like the Pacific Travel Association has introduced an ecotourism pledge which requires their members to adopt environment-friendly practices.
7.7 Approaches to Ecotourism in India
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA Environmental conservation, which is the philosophy behind ecotourism, is deeply set in the minds of the common Indian. As per the Hindu religious scriptures, one is expected to follow certain rules, or Dharma, regarding sanctity to be maintained in hills, sanctuaries, water bodies, villages and marketplaces. By and large these are followed in rural and tribal settlements. With growing urbanization and industrialization, coupled with increased pressure on natural resources due to the population explosion, and the state having the responsibility to make available water and food grains and other essential commodities in the markets, it has become imperative to involve citizens in natural resource management. Environmental management is not only the responsibility of the state, but also a duty of each and every citizen. The Government of India has decided to involve citizens in environmental management. As a part of this campaign, Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks where people can cohabit with the other living things and learn about environmental management are being established in all parts of India. More and more Marine National Parks, Bird Sanctuaries and Biosphere Reserves are contemplated, not only as a conservation measure but also to inculcate a sense of compassion for flora and fauna. Nature interpretation centers are in vogue in all parts of the country. Floating accommodation in the form of house boats prevalent in Dal Lake, Kashmir and the back waters of Aleppy, Kerala are famous throughout the world. This type of accommodation brings tourists close to nature. This kind of informal education will go a long way in promoting ecotourism in India, a country where financial and other resources are limited. Trekking tours are being organized by not only the private tour operators but also by the state-run corporations and other bodies. Similarly skiing, rowing and other water 54
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA sports are being organized by the state to promote soft adventure tourism in the country. Major sections of the society (urban, rural, students, employees, workers, employers) are encouraged to undertake tours in different parts of India. The government, academic institutions and private sector provide funds or concessions for this purpose, with the objective of better binding the countrys multiethnic, multi linguistic, and multicultural people together, while helping them understands their country better and appreciate each others problems.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
Chapter 8 ECO TOURISM PROJECT
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
8. Ecotourism projects8.1 Ecotourism project in Kerala: Eco-Development Project in Periyar Tiger reserve IntroductionThe Ministry of Environment has undertaken to promote local community participation in forest management, through the India - Eco Development programme in seven states. In Kerala, the Thekkady Tiger Trail project was launched a couple of years ago in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. In the Periyar Tiger Trail project, the members involved are the former inhabitants of the forest, who use to make a living by illegal trading of forest goods. Their activity was thus detrimental to the conservation of the forest. However, their intimate knowledge about the plants and animals, and their survival instincts could be best used for participatory ecotourism activities. Besides the Tiger Trail, other ecotourism products of the Periyar Tiger Reserve are: Bamboo Rafting, Day Trekking Programme, Tribal Heritage, Bamboo Grove, Jungle Inn and Wild adventures. Ecotourism in Kerala The state of Kerala, forming part of the Western Ghats, contains a protected area of 2,324 sq.km in two National Parks and 12 Wildlife Sanctuaries. The Western Ghats of Kerala, with its tropical forest ecosystem, provides a natural advantage for development of Ecotourism. The Western Ghats regions of Kerala can be projected as an Ecotourism Zone in the true sense. It has now become necessary to evolve appropriate location specific strategies for sanctuaries in Kerala, in the sphere of ecotourism development. Proper ecotourism product development, its marketing, environmental impact assessment, monitoring etc. are to be done in a systematic way.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA The Tourism Department of Government of Kerala has taken steps to give focused attention to ecotourism in the State. A separate ecotourism wing has been created to give policy support for the development of the ecotourism destinations in the State. Thenmala ecotourism project was established in and around Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary with the co-operation of departments such as Forest, Irrigation and Tourism. It is considered to be the first planned ecotourism destination in India. Thekkady is another ecotourism destination, which offers the visitor an unforgettable experience. Except Thekkady, all other sanctuaries in Kerala are practically unknown to tourists. What is needed is a more focused strategy which is supply-driven and small group - oriented. Ecotourism activities, in an ecologically sensitive area need close monitoring. Tourism in these natural areas should be ecologically sustainable. There should be provision for the visitor to be educated about the environment. The economic benefit of such an activity should accrue to the local population to ensure sustainability. Ecotourism projects the concept of sustainability in tourism, that is, the needs of today's visitor should not be met at the expense of future generations. Ecotourism in Periyar Tiger Reserve In 1899, the core area of what today is the Periyar Sanctuary was declared a reserved forest in order to protect the catchment area of the Periyar River. This river had been dammed in 1895, resulting in several small lakes and a reservoir. In 1934 the area, including the reservoir, was declared a Sanctuary. The total area of the present Sanctuary is 777 square kilometers and it is located in the southernmost part of Western Ghats. 70% of it includes tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. What make Thekkady a unique destination on the tourism map are its climate, landscape and possibility of watching wildlife closely on the lakeshore while taking a boat cruise. The prime attraction of tourists visiting Thekkady is a boat cruise in the Periyar Lake. This lake is artificially formed, due to the submergence of low-lying forest areas, following the construction of the Mullapperiyar Dam in 1895. It offers a variety of opportunities to cater to the needs of various classes of tourists. Tourism 58
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA has become an important management issue ever since the area was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978 (tenth of its kind in India) and there has been tremendous increase in the number of tourists visiting the park year after year. An experiment in forest management called India Eco-development Project at Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkady developed an ecotourism component, the Thekkady Tiger Trail late in 1998. The concept and implementation of the India Eco-development Project made the managers of Periyar Tiger Reserve think seriously in order to identify sustainable tourism activities that ensure local participation in its fullest sense. The Project at Periyar has two basic objectives: To manage protected areas and to get local people involved in it. To implement the project initially, local communities living off the forest were organized into eco-development committees (EDCs). Two basic objectives for the EDCs were to reduce the negative impact of local people on the Sanctuary and to involve encroachers in conservation, instead of exploitation. This was done by addressing the economic needs of those living in and around the park (about 250,000 people) by finding viable and innovative livelihood alternatives for them. The project has so far benefited about 40,000 people of 5,540 families. Ex-Vayana Bark collectors, who were involved in the illegal de-barking of Cinnamon trees (Vayana) as well as in Sandalwood smuggling and poaching formed an ecodevelopment committee (EDC) in 1998. 23 smugglers came forward to begin life anew. They pledged to protect the very forests that they had plundered in the past and in return, the Forest Department withdrew all the cases against them. They initiated a Bamboo Rafting programme for tourists in November 2002 and major part of the earnings from this goes to a community development fund. The Tribal Trekkers EcoDevelopment Committee (a group of 20 tribal youths), and the Periyar Tiger Samrakshan (PETS) (a group of 70 members who were earlier employed by the 59
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA Forest Department as watchers), have an involvement in the tourism. They provide services like day treks through the forest, arranging nature camps, horse riding and special programmes for the tourists. The members of all the committees help the Forest Department in undertaking the census of animals in the reserve. Members of the Tribal Trekkers group have added four species of birds to the checklist of the reserve. There is also clear evidence for a significant increase in the number of animals in the sanctuary. Periyar Tiger Trail It is an adventurous trekking and camping programme in dense forest. It is offered in two packages, one- night and two-night stays, depending upon the preference and wallet of guests. Trekking in the Thekkady Tiger Trail is in reality participation in forest patrols within Periyar Sanctuary and National Park. Trekking with tourists during peak season is normally limited to two occasions a week. Each trekking is unique in the sense that different paths are chosen randomly. The physical condition of the trekking tourist determines to some degree the difficulty of the path chosen. As the terrain is undulating, every trekking program demands that each participant is in good physical condition. From the beginning, the trekking follows an easy footpath, but then the team enters terrain and vegetation of varying difficulty to penetrate, in an untouched landscape without tracks. There are no facilities within the Sanctuary, so everything needed has to be carried along. Under the scheme, a maximum number of five tourists will be accompanied by five guides and one armed forest guard. The guides are very knowledgeable on every nook and cranny of Thekkady forest, and on wildlife behavior. During the night, the guests are put up in temporary erected tents right in the interior. Guests feel at the lap of Mother Nature and can have a close-up view of wildlife and observe their behavior. Considering the vulnerability of biodiversity the number of slots has been limited. Although much publicity has been given to the project recently and its popularity is increasing, the number of trekking is limited to not more than a couple of tours per 60
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA week. This is typical of ecotourism. An ecotourism project is never meant to be expanding with increasing popularity - then it ceases to be a true ecotourism project, which entails a minimum of damage and disturbance of the environment. One very important result of the project so far, is that the former poachers have been converted to devoted trackers with a genuine interest in conserving the Sanctuary. Some trackers have reported that the number of wild animals is already increasing. One national award for ecotourism was given to this project by The Ministry of Tourism for excellence in environmental concern in January 2000. A state award (Kerala) was also given recently for innovation in tourism. Other Ecotourism products of Periyar Tiger Reserve Bamboo Rafting: Ex-Vayana Bark collectors initiated a Bamboo Rafting program for tourists in November 2002. A full day nature trail package is offered to nature lovers to enjoy the panoramic beauty of Periyar Lake and undulating surroundings. A maximum of ten tourists can be accommodated in one slot. They will be accompanied by five guides and one armed guard. Only one slot will be allotted per day. Under this package the guests can enjoy two-hour long trekking, one and half hours long rafting upwards, and then after lunch break the party returns in the same manner. During the trail the party can have a feeling of pristine forest, see even large mammals, birds and indigenous people fishing in the lake. The guests will be helped to identify flora and fauna. Day Trekking Programme: Trekking programme, conducted by EDC, an Ecodevelopment Committee (involving Tribal trekkers cum Guides), formed by 20 selected youths from the nearby tribal hamlets, and offers a possibility to know the richness of an ideal tropical evergreen forest within a short span of time. The trekking duration is 3 hours. Five guests will be accommodated in one slot and they will be accompanied by one tribal youth. Born and brought up right in the lap of forests, the guides are well familiar with the forest life. The guest will be taken through selected
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA nature trails. The programme is also ideal for bird enthusiasts as it starts early morning. Jungle Inn: A well furnished hut-like building right inside the forest, near by a vast expanse of wetland, is open to the tourists for night-stay. Two tourists will be accommodated and one guide will accompany them. During the stay in the inn they can have a close watch of the movement of wildlife and if it is a full moon day their experience in the jungle will be unforgettable. The guests will complete short duration trekking to and from their destination. The accompanying guide will serve light food during the stay in the inn. Learning Program in Bamboo Grove: Typical tribal like huts and tents erected right in a vast bamboo grove are offered to serious nature lovers for their experiential learning programme. In addition to the huts and tents, a seminar hall also exists for conducting sensitization programs. These programs include interactive lectures by topic specific faculties/ professionals, simple food, accommodation in the tent etc. Tribal Heritage: Under this programme tribal life and culture of 50 years ago has been recreated in an exhibition centre right in the tribal hamlet. It is a 2-hour program and includes an exhibition and interpretation of the heritage and a nature trail in the hamlet. The guest can get acquainted with their traditional life, such as medicinal herbs, weapons, musical instrument, household articles etc. Wild Adventures: This programme involves a close interaction with the nature in the midst of a typical evergreen forest in Gavi, about 40 Kms. from Thekkady. The full programme is conducted by the eco-development committees of Meenar, Gavi and Kochupanpa. The package includes vehicle safari from Thekkady to Gavi and trekking in the forest. Animal sighting is common and abundant. Night-stay is also facilitated for a limited number of tourists. Rowing, bird watching, outdoor camping in the forest, tree-top stay and night safari are also arranged on request. 62
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA Review of Eco-development Project The Eco-development project in the Periyar Tiger Reserve can be reviewed on the basis of ecotourism principles like nature-based, ecological sustainability, scope of education and interpretation, benefits to local people etc. Nature- based: All the activities in the eco-development project are nature based. Programs like the Tiger Trail, Bamboo Rafting and Day Trekking are carried out in the interior parts of the Sanctuary. Each trekking in the Tiger Trail is unique in the sense that different paths are chosen randomly. At the beginning, the trekking follows an easy footpath, but then the team enters shifting terrain and vegetation of varying difficulty, to penetrate an untouched landscape without tracks. There are no facilities within the Sanctuary. So everything needed, has to be carried along. Ecologically Sustainable: The ecotourists are expected to accept the environment as it is, without trying to change it. This is also the case for less attractive portions of the Sanctuary. The only facilities are a few bamboo rafts used to cross lakes and ponds with. No foot-bridges or other installations to facilitate trekking are planned to be laid out. It is a rule here that those who might enter the same trail, should, in principle, not see that others have been there before, even if it has been a campsite. Education and Interpretation: Education is also an important factor of the project - a crash course for the ecotourist, and a permanent conservation education for the trackers. Tiger Trail provides a first-hand encounter with the natural environment. As the trekking in fact is a trail that is randomly chosen each time, the Thekkady Tiger Trail programme definitely provides a first-hand encounter with the natural environment for the ecotourist. The small group of ecotourists, who have booked for this trail, gather on the evening before the start for a briefing about what they can expect, what they should consider, and dos & donts, by a professional environmentalist. This briefing with a slideshow is a short but good lesson in environmental ethics and "preferred" behaviour, as well as providing information 63
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA about the Sanctuary. Opportunity for learning is also available at the Tribal heritage center, the bamboo grove, the visitor center and at the Rajiv Gandhi center for Nature Education and Research. Benefits to local people: In the communities bordering the Periyar Sanctuary, EDCs (Ecodevelopment Committees) were implemented as part of the program. Also, some well known poachers and exploiters of the Sanctuary were reformed and became members of these committees when they were attached to the project. The project has also laid the foundation for a welfare fund for the 22 trackers with families, and other improvements remain to be made. One very important result of the project so far, is that the former poachers have been converted to devoted trackers with a genuine interest in conserving the Sanctuary. A major part of the earnings from the bamboorafting program goes to the community development fund from which the members earn a monthly wage of Rupees 3,500. The earnings from various activities and services also go into a community development fund. Conclusion The success of the Eco-development project in the Periyar Tiger Reserve reflects the concern for achieving a balance between conservation of the sanctuary and livelihood of people living in and around it. The involvement of local communities in Ecotourism activities is a step in the right direction. It provides for alternative sources of income to local communities, which live in and around protected areas, thus decreasing their dependence on forest resources and increasing their commitment to keeping the forests intact. For the vast protected area network in India, the lessons from the Periyar experience is important, as it legitimately shows the need for communities and conservation to go hand in hand.
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Chapter 9 ECO HOTEL
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA
9. ECO HOTELSOur environment is the most precious asset that will be passed on to the next generation. Protecting the environment is the task of all the individuals, governments and enterprises. The future of the World is in the protection of the environment, therefore the future of the hotels is in eco-hotels. Hotels use large amounts of water, energy, chemicals, supplies and disposable items. They also generate lots of waste in form of wastewater and solid waste. The prevention of polluting the environment with this waste is of great importance not only to stakeholders and the employees of the hotel, but also tourists who are becoming more concerned for the preservation of the environment. Eco-hotel or environmental suitable hotel has to follow the basic principles of good housekeeping - based on maximizing benefits and minimizing costs. Those principles are at the same time the main principles of the ecology as a scientific approach and as a global movement aimed at preserving environment and implementing sustainable development concept. Sustainable development is very important concept in hospitality industry because it meets the needs of present tourists and host regions and at the same time protects and enhance the opportunity for the future. Hotels have positive or negative impact on their local area and host communities. Accordingly, eco-hotels act in the way that they keep the environment clean and improve their quality, rise up the level of satisfaction of more sophisticated and ecologically more conscious guests and reduce costs, which, all together helps promoting the concept of tourism sustainable development. Environmental costs are impacts that occur in society, enterprise, or individual. They result from activities that affect quality of the environment, and can be expressed in monetary and non-monetary items. They have to be fully integrated into company's business decisions on long term basis, and only the enterprises that properly account for the true environmental costs of their businesses will be in a better position to meet competitive challenges in the future. 66
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9.1 Orchid An Eco-hotel
An IntroductionKamats - where hospitality is a tradition and a name that spells hospitality is India's most successful and best-known hotel & restaurant chain. The Group - Kamats had a humble and modest beginning. A clear vision along with determination and hard work, have gone a long way in helping the Group achieve successful results and has laid the foundation of the most successful Restaurant Chain in India, which of course had gained a strong foothold in the hospitality Industry. The brand equity "Kamats" has also gone up substantially over the years. At present, the name is synonymous with value for money. It believes in the philosophy of best quality food and service at the most affordable prices. Chairman, Late Mr. Venkatesh Krishna Kamat who laid the foundation of what was to later become one of India's largest and most successful restaurant chain started its business with a small restaurant at Mazgaon, Mumbai which was soon followed by Krishna Bhawan in Mumbai's busy Null Bazaar. Later, his vision and foresight was in search of a new pasture and thus 'Satkar' restaurant, a well known city landmark and popular meeting place came into existence. The Satkar restaurant flourished continuously for two decades and became the flagship of the Kamat Empire and the rendezvous for people from all walks of life. The group then acquired two more restaurants to its Empire --The 'Samrat' and 'Suvidha'.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA Within a span of five years (1972-1976), a total of six establishments including a partnership in the well known Asiatic Department Store at Churchgate, catering to the distinctly, different needs of general office-goers and of up-market managerial executives was created. Success in such a big way and enterprising spirit led to birth of yet another hotelKamat Plaza close to Santacruz Domestic Airport. Recognizing the need for a club to cater to the suburban middle class, businessman and traveling executives. In September 1995, the Management of Kamats Plaza decided to upgrade and reopen the property as a Five Star Hotel. Accordingly 'THE ORCHID', which is Asia's first Eco-Friendly Five Star Hotel, was opened. The Flagship of the Company - KAMAT HOTELS (INDIA) LIMITED is a Public Listed Company and the group flagship hotel of the company viz., THE KAMAT PLAZA, a four star hotel near the Santacruz Airport was taken by the Company KAMAT HOTELS (INDIA) LIMITED pursuant to the Management Contract with Plaza Hotels Private Limited for a period of 30 years with effect from 1st April, 1994. In the year 1994, the company achieved good results ; reasons being the rising demand for suitable accommodation in the City of Mumbai due to economic globalization and at the same time a boom in the real estate market with acute shortage of hotel rooms in the city of Mumbai. Hence, the then Management of the Kamat Plaza Hotel undertook to expand the project immediately after its Public Issue during the year. . Under their able guidance and after having done a detailed market study/ survey along with a feasibility report, decided to upgrade the Project to a Five Star Property and hired the services of Mr. D. M. Upasni, an Architect of repute and an International Designer - Lynn Wilson from USA, (who is ranked among the top 10 in the world) to design the hotel interiors, keeping in mind the needs of a Business Traveler along with his luxury and comforts, comparable to international standards. 68
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Marketing being an important aspect of the Hospitality Industry, positioning of the property is an important aspect too. Unto them was born a brand, unknown so far in the continent of Asia - a green hotel - environmentally sensitive - right from brick to paper and taking care of every little guest need at the same time - In their efforts to position this brand, it was proved that 87% of international travelers do patronize green hotels. Thus awakened the need to tie up with an International Firm- HVS ECO SERVICES of - HVS INTERNATIONAL, NEW YORK who were hired to undertake - specific environmental programmes, designed to lower operating costs and increase revenues and evaluate the hotel's environmental performance in various areas. Needless to say THE ORCHID, as it is aptly renamed, was awarded the prestigious 'ECOTEL' Certification' by HVS ECO SERVICES, USA, which is the hall mark of environmentally sensitive hotels. The Hotel thus becomes the first hotel in Asia to obtain the coveted certification. The Orchid has employed a high powered team of professionals from the Industry and it opened its doors to Public on World Tourism Day - 27th September, 1997. It has been well received both in the domestic and international market and enjoys a near 82.7% occupancy in the year 2000-2001 having well appointed rooms and suites with luxurious 5 star facilities.
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The Environment Measures by Orchid1. Construction: Architecture: Passive Energy Conservation Efforts in Design The Plan Configuration: The building is designed with 72 rooms facing the atrium; therefore these rooms are not directly exposed to the external elements thus reducing the heat load. Natural Lighting in the Atrium: This has been achieved by skylight as an architectural element, detailed in a manner of doubly layered domes to reduce heat load and noise levels yet admitting maximum natural light in the atrium space. Roof Top: The swimming pool is located on the rooftop with 4 feet of water body, which acts as an insulator from the heat. KoolDeck is applied around the swimming pool deck to reduce the glare and the surface temperature so that one can walk barefooted around the pool. Civil Work: To start at the very beginning the cement that has gone into making The Orchid an Eco friendly Hotel is absolutely environment friendly. This cement, PPC (Portland Pozzalana Cement) contains 15-20% fly ash, as compared to OPC (Ordinary Portland Cement). Water Conservation: At The Orchid they believe in the three "R" theory of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Water being one of the earth's most precious resources and vital to life they have tried to put this theory in practice by taking special care to conserve this resource by employing carefully planned techniques enlisted below, which re-establishes our belief in the above theory.
ECO TOURISM IN INDIA Sewage Treatment Plant: At the Orchid they even recycle our wastewater. With the latest technology, wastewater is treated and then reused in areas like air conditioning & gardening. Drip Irrigation: With the help of drip irrigation provided on site their endeavor to conserve water will increase two folds! 2. Interiors Reused Wood: At their specialty restaurant called the "Vindhyas" the entire interiors i.e. the woodwork has been made from wood recycled from old buildings! This concept was specially incorporated keeping our eco-friendly image of the Hotel. Triple Glazed Windows: This tripled glazed window blocks the heat of the sun from entering the room and helps in conserving the air-conditioning energy. An added advantage of this unit is that prevents fabric and furniture colours from fading as the triple glazed unit prevents the infra red light from the sun to enter the room. These windows also help in effectively cutting out the noise pollution from India's busiest airport. Electrical: At The Orchid they have not only made efforts to reduce solid waste and conserve water but also have contributed in saving energy.
3. Electronic Interactive T.V: These are televisions in the guest rooms by which we can receive our messages on the TV, order room service through the interactive TV, set top box. The welcome letter also will be displayed on this and last but not the least you will also be able to view your room bill on the TV. 71
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4. Zero Garbage The Orchid in its endeavor to become a "zero garbage" hotel has taken various measures to reduce the waste being generated. To reinforce this we have undertaken the project of vermiculture on hotel site. For this purpose they have built 9 bins on site wherein all the kitchen garbage is diverted for the process. This endeavor of ours has helped to achieve "zero garbage" mission; the second benefit of this act is that they are not adding to the waste stream of the city. 5. Operational Practices Hangers: The hangers