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Tourism in Forest Areas of Western Ghats

Tourism in Forest Areas of Western Ghats

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Commissioned by the Western Ghats Expert Ecology Panel (WGEEP) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India , this paper attempts a rapid assessment of the impact of tourism growth in the Western Ghats. The paper is based on substantive secondary research , by EQUATIONS as well as other academicians and organisations. It also has a set of case studies demonstrative how unregulated tourism has led to significant environmental, social and cultural damage in the ecologically fragile Western Ghats region – one of the 34 biodiversity hotspots of the world. The three main sections of the paper are one on the trends in tourism development, the legal and policy regime that is flouted more than followed, and case studies. This is followed by a series of recommendations for sustainable tourism in the region.

Publisher: Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS)
Contact: info@equitabletourism.org, +91.80.25457607
Visit: www.equitabletourism.org, www.equitabletourism.org/stage/readfull.php?AID=1246

Keywords: Western Ghats, Western Ghats Expert Ecology Panel, WGEEP, Ministry of Environment and Forests, MoEF, Government of India, Tourism Impacts, Ecotourism, Forest, National Parks, Tourism, Tourism Development, Tourism Policy, India , EQUATIONS, Ecologically Sensitive Areas, Conservation Authorities, Protected Areas, Forest Areas
Commissioned by the Western Ghats Expert Ecology Panel (WGEEP) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India , this paper attempts a rapid assessment of the impact of tourism growth in the Western Ghats. The paper is based on substantive secondary research , by EQUATIONS as well as other academicians and organisations. It also has a set of case studies demonstrative how unregulated tourism has led to significant environmental, social and cultural damage in the ecologically fragile Western Ghats region – one of the 34 biodiversity hotspots of the world. The three main sections of the paper are one on the trends in tourism development, the legal and policy regime that is flouted more than followed, and case studies. This is followed by a series of recommendations for sustainable tourism in the region.

Publisher: Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS)
Contact: info@equitabletourism.org, +91.80.25457607
Visit: www.equitabletourism.org, www.equitabletourism.org/stage/readfull.php?AID=1246

Keywords: Western Ghats, Western Ghats Expert Ecology Panel, WGEEP, Ministry of Environment and Forests, MoEF, Government of India, Tourism Impacts, Ecotourism, Forest, National Parks, Tourism, Tourism Development, Tourism Policy, India , EQUATIONS, Ecologically Sensitive Areas, Conservation Authorities, Protected Areas, Forest Areas

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS) on Feb 17, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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1
Tourism
 
in
 
Forest 
 
 Areas
 
of 
 
Western
 
Ghats
 
EQUATIONS
 
January
 
2011
 
 
 
2
Tourism in Forest Areas of Western Ghats
January 2011
Research Team
Rosemary ViswanathAditi ChanchaniVarun Santhosh
Research Support
S VidyaAnanya DasguptaSabitha LorenzCoralie Gainza
Advisory Team
K T Suresh
EQUATIONS
#415, 2 C Cross, 4
th
MainOMBR Layout, BanaswadiBengaluru – 560043, IndiaTelephone: +91-80-25457607 / 25457659Fax: +91-80-25457665Email: info@equitabletourism.orgUrl: www.equitabletourism.org
 
 
3its mandate.
Tourism
 
in
 
Fores
 
Western
 
Ghats
 
 
 Areas
 
o
EQUATIONSJanuary 2011
SECTION I: TRENDS AND KEY ISSUES IN TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN THE WESTERN GHATSIntroduction
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest formed the 14-member Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel(WGEEP)
1
, to recommend measures and assist the government in the preservation, conservation and rejuvenation of the environmentally sensitive and ecologically significant regions of the Western Ghats. The panel's mandate is toassess the ecological status of the Western Ghats region, demarcate areas within to be notified as ecologicallysensitive zones under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, and recommend modalities for the establishment of the Western Ghats Ecology Authority under the Act. EQUATIONS was invited by the Western Ghats Ecology ExpertPanel (WGEEP) to submit a paper on “Tourism in the forest areas of Western Ghats” and join the consultative processstarted by the WGEEP to fulfilTourism is increasingly being located in natural areas and areas with fragile ecosystems like mountains, hills, coasts,forests and wetlands. Different tourism products like ecotourism, wilderness, wildlife tourism, are growing rapidly inpristine and less accessible forest areas - the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Tourism has emerged as one of the key economic activities in the Western Ghats due to the rich biodiversity and verdant landscapes acting as thenatural resources for tourism to thrive in this region. What is emerging also form a review of many papers that havestudied the ecological significance and the issue of tourism increasingly being recognised as a factor and as a threatto ecological sustainability and diversity of the region.
Approach and Methodology
Considering the short time-frame, we have attempted a rapid assessment of trends in tourism in the Western Ghatsand provided broad- based recommendations based on a few field visits. We also relied quite heavily on other studiesdone in the region by EQUATIONS as well as other researches and organizations in the past 10 years. For the fieldvisits, the locations were chosen on the basis of the different kinds of tourism practices followed, geographies, accessto the destination, the short-time frame, and previous studies conducted in the locations. The case studies are aresult of the field visits and are an attempt to understand the impacts of tourism at these destinations. This paperintends to set a framework of issues for closer monitoring and more detailed impact assessment of tourism in theWestern Ghats.
1.1 The Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, extending along the west coast of India, covers an area of 160,000 square kilometers
2
and is oneof 34 global biodiversity hotspots for conservation as defined by Conservation International (the Western Ghats andSri Lanka are the two on the Indian subcontinent, the third being the Himalayas)
3
. The Western Ghats, also known asthe Sahyadri Hills stretch for 1,600 kilometres along the west coast of India, interrupted only by the 30 kilometerslong Palghat Gap, through the states Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. About 60% of the Western Ghats is in the state of Karnataka.

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