Eco-tourism is becoming popular worldwide
People the world over are more conscious about the environment and are looking out for alternatives, activities, and products that are eco-friendly. The same trend or demand can be seen in the travel industry as well and has changed the way the industry operates. If you travel often, then you may have come across the term “eco-tourism”. The term, as used by ecotourism in India, fuses the word ecology and tourism; and entails the conservation of nature, spending time in areas that are deemed as ecologically fragile to experience that natural beauty it has to offer.
Eco-tourism scene in India
India is known for its scenic, natural beauty ranging from the Himalayas to several other diverse geographical conditions, old cultures, and traditions. Hidden inside this natural beauty are a collection of beaches, mountains, hill stations, plains, glaciers, rivers, and archaeological monuments. The ecosystem is filled with innumerable fauna and flora; there are around 47,000 flora species and 81,000 fauna species in India alone.
Tourists that make up the consumer base for eco-tourism in India, can enjoy a diversified climate that ranges from hot temperatures in the plains and extreme cold in higher altitudes. The traditions, rituals, and cultural heritage have played a developmental role in eco-tourism in India. It has even created large-scale employment opportunities, especially for local communities.
India is in the process of creating an optimal infrastructure that can be used for operating tourism activities while preserving natural habitats. Popular spots include Madhya Pradesh,Himalayan Region,Kerala, Northeast India,Lakshadweep Island, and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
These destinations are known for their lush greenery, providing fantastic ways to enjoy nature. There are many tribal and local groups that rely on natural resources to build their livelihood.
Thenmala in Kerala was one of the earliest ecotourism destinations that India had to offer. Today, the country can boast of many more ecotourism destinations that are made for ecotourists. Among these include Tamil Nadu, Goa, Uttarakhand,Karnataka,etc.
Why eco-tourism is vital for India
For a big, developing country tourism still remains a source of income that adds to the GDP. One of the pillars that hold up such an industry is the country’s biodiversity. The more natural resources a country has, the better it is for eco-tourism in India or any country for that matter.
The country has a vast collection of cultural and natural resources providing it with scope for many ecotourism activities. In fact, ecotourism in Indiahad started up somewhere in the seventies and eighties to promote sustainability, but primarily to benefit local communities. Indian government authorities have since then realized the potential this industry has as a promotional platform, and have been developing the infrastructure and have even recognized it as a separate industry. TheResponsible Tourism Society of India was formed in 2008 to promote these aims and to ensure sustainable practices,environmental responsibility within thetourism industry. Ecotourism is one way to encourage conservation initiatives.
- Preserving the habitat filled with animals and other wildlife
- It is a broader platform that brings thetribal communities closer to revenue earning opportunities.
- It aids the development ofremote areas
- Revenue earned improves thelong-term economic prospects of the country and this industry.
- It aids bigger conservation activities especially those surrounding social and political issues.
India is home to several national parks,wildlife sanctuaries that are protected by law. There are about 553 sanctuaries,103 national parks that are dedicated to the conservation and protection of wildlife resources.
Benefits of eco-tourism in India
Sustainable tourism is much bigger in India, with the industry and its various supporting bodies having taken up greater strides in the last few years. People love these travel experiences because it lets them delve into an enriching lesson of sustainable life, local communities, economic empowerment, heritage, and cultural preservation. There are even more travel destinations that are sustainable today offering truly bespoke travel experiences. The eco-tourism in Indiascene has a lot to offer the country, as listed out below.
Local communities support
The biggest and most important outcome of eco-tourism in India is that it supports many local communities that rely on it as a source of income, especially those connected directly with ecotourism activities.
Certain support groups involvelocal people in activities, providing them withhospitality techniques, skills, and proper management. They even build facilities that can facilitate local industries likeelectricity facilities,better health facilities, and proper roads. India’s eco-tourism scene is like a big network on which other related industries thrive:
- Cycling, hiking, and trekking companies
- Organizations that promote bird watching and nature study
- Fuelling the Agrotourism industry
- Creation of village, urban and rural homestays companies or programs
Protection and awareness of endangered species
The next benefit ofecotourism in Indiais that it aids in theconservation of biodiversity in the country. In order for any place to be designated as an ecotourism destination, it needs to exhibit certain characteristics; these are the presence of bird and animal species that are considered to be rare, endangered, or migratory.
Since ecotourism in India is dependent on the species and thenatural environment they reside in, authorities have implemented protective measures toprotect theseendangeredanimal and plant species.
Developing a deeper understanding of the local culture
Ecotourism is a way to explore the cultural aspects of an area. Apart from providing the chances to reconnect with nature, it shows tourists howlocal people are involved in the industry and gives them a way to interact with local populations, their customs, and livelihood.
Promoting environmental awareness
Building awareness of many environmental concerns is the larger focus of ecotourism in India. This aids conservation activities and encouraging people to take up eco-friendly practices.
Ecotourism also involves responsible travel for observing the fauna, flora in order to minimize the environmental impact. It is categorized as a type of travel that is sustainable,nature-based with a greater aim to educate the traveler, benefit local economic development, and creates employment opportunities.