Green tourism in mountain regions-reducing vulnerability and promoting people and place centric development in the Himalayas
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In recent years, mountain regions are attracting great attention to Indian tourists in general and foreign tourists in particular. The potential mountain resources for promoting green tourism are enormous in the form of natural and cultural heritage such as biosphere reserves, flora and fauna, lakes and rivers and traditional rural resources. In order to utilise tourism industry market, uncontrolled numbers of tourists and related haphazard infrastructural facilities in the vulnerable mountain regions pose serious environmental implications. The ecological pressures are threatening land, water and wild life resources through direct and indirect environmental impacts together with generation of solid and liquid wastes, so green tourism is emerging as an important task in order to develop new relationship between communities, government agencies and private sectors. The strategy focuses on ecological understanding, environmental protection and ecodevelopment. The major attributes of the green tourism include environmental conservation and education and distribution of income to local people based on strong partnership. Various knowledge systems go a long way for achieving the goals of the green tourism, which creates awareness about the value of environmental resources.
Mountains have ecological, recreational, educational and scientific values, which need to be utilised in sustainable way. Various tourist activities and facilities need to be diversified in order to achieve multiple benefits including scientific field excursion, recreation in natural and cultural areas, community festivals and sport tourisms. Green tourism considers tourism development as an integral part to a national and regional development. The paper discusses the social, economic and environmental dimensions of the green tourism with particular reference to village tourism development programme taking empirical evidences from the Himalaya. Such programme also minimises biophysical and human vulnerability and risks in mountain regions. The environmental consciousness campaign and introduction of code through multi- purpose Tourist Resource Centres are gaining currency in above context.
KeywordsMountain region green tourism development programme Kullu Himalaya
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