a group of Nepalese concerned about the impactthat tourism has
our culture, economy and environment. Weaccept that tourism has
important part to play
theeconomic future of the country, but want
limit the destructiveeffects.
is essential that the development of the touristindustry takes place
a systematic way, learning from pastmistakes. Tourism must serve the development needs of
whole country and not just a privileged minority.
inform tourists of the impact they
our environmentand culture and to encourage more sensitive behaviour
raiseawareness amongst Nepalese of the damaging effects oftourism through a newsletter, exhibitions, conferences and talkprogrammes
encoumge poiiey makers
develop long termplans for a sustainable tourist industry
conserves theenvironment, benefits local communities and minimises theundermining of traditional culture
educate Nepalese trekkingagencies and foreign tour operators about the long termdamage of their activities and develop training programmes fortheir
support individuals and communities who havebeen adversely affected
research the impact oftourism and formulate sustainable
network with similar organizationsworldwide to share information and experiences.
you want more information about the work ofNETWAC write to:The Secretary, NETWAC, GPO Box 4543, Kathmandu,Nepal.
first and foremost, a person, and above all a seeker,searching both within himself and without; one who acts, and responds.
search of places and ideas which are different from thosethat
familiar with, and
meet people and
understand their mores
customs, their struggles and hopes.
the principle that the tourist
individual and enjoysa certain freedom
thought and action, one must refrain from wanting
tow the line, from organising his itinerary, and showing himonly what
meet the demands of these tourists and also to providefor a cultural and economic enrichment of the host community are longterm vision, a comprehensive policy, global development planning and acommon concerted interest
the intelligent execution of these projects.'If aggression and a feeling
be avoided, the
as well ascultural fallouts.
isnothing to wonderabout
to trudge for
and see that
a privilege and a way of discovering people and their
c u l t u ~ e s ,
has the advantage of being
actual, physical encounter andtherefore,
dialogue and mingling of cultures. It helps bothparties to avoid stagnation.The tourist
a testifier, and
the country visited. He can
creating a more just picture of the country and
destroyingcliches. Thus, a teacher
turn, share her experience withher students, and inspire interest, respect and appreciation for the country
them.This kind of impact, with its sequence of secondary impacts, and its sociocultural and economic fall-outs, cannot
ignored (for instance, after theinitial exposure of their teachers, two schools, two towns could follow suit).Tourism must
informal education, free and withoutconstraints; as a means for building understanding and solidarity betweenpeople and nations.AUGUSTIN
when the tourists stop coming (the industry being of a veryelastic nature, as
Sri Lanka/Kashmir), or a particulardestination is closed down (such as Pagsanjan
therefore, be planned
of a largereconomic framework, not as a mono-culture.
Local lifestyles, cultural practises and traditional crafts arealso threatened by tourism development. People aredisturbed
work by camera-happy visitors, places ofworship lose their sanctity, and handicrafts mass-producedfor the tourist market. How can cultual impacts be preventedor minimised?
above points, we would also bring to your noticethat the hotel lobby's case which
backed by developments
direct interest here. The Kempinski group hasa hotel there while the Oberois too have such interests
Bali.Already in one village of Goa, Covelossim, there are sixlarge hotels i.e., The Leela Beach, Averrina, Old AnchorResort, Alcon's new project, Dona Sylvia and Gaffino's,while the following stretches of land are waiting to beswallowed
this callow greed for short term gains:-32 Kms stretch between Puri and Konark.-Madhavpur
Saurastra, Copnath near Bhavnagar andKutch.-Recent announcement of opening up of Andaman andNicobar islands (Havelock, Neil, Mayabunder, Rangatand Diglipur).11. The tourism industry, worldwide, operates on certainassumptions regarding what the tourist wishes to see.Therefore, whether it is a hotel in Goa, or Thailand, orKenya, Fiji,
Jamaica, the exact ambience prevails, thesame patterns of construction, the same food and drinks,the same faked demonstrations of local culture andheritage.Perhaps the Committee could study the possibility ofalternative forms of tourism which
not require suchlarge amounts of external investment, nor alienate thelocals so greatly from the tourism activity.12. Different countries follow different guidelines for coastalconstruction, as per UNEP information.
Cyprus, forexample, one of the world's leading tourism destinations,there is a blanket ban on new hotels within 2 kilometresof the shoreline.India should examine such regulations, and the reasonsbehind them, before rushing in for a change of existinglegal provisions.Therefore,
do hope that the Committee would pay heed tothese points, and come up with recommendations that trulyreflect the concerns of an increasingly large number of people,worldwide, who wish to see a harmonious balance betweentourism, the environment, people and development.Thanking you and looking forward to the outcome of yourdeliberations.
An expert committee, headed
B.B. Vohra has been appointed
suggest modificationsin coastal regulations for setting up hotels
tourism facilities nearbeaches. While the hotel industry has been lobbying
haveregulations that permit locations as close
possible,environmentalists have been reSisting the move. The Committee wasappointed to consider
the hotel lobby for furtherreducing the existing limit
200 metres from the beach. Originailytilough, the limit had been fixed
has since beenthe bone
naruraiists who want this limit tcbe retained and the hoteliers who want
this fairly fong-standing debate
India,EQUA TlONS feft it might be useful to co-ordinate efforts
consensus view from the human
ecological perspective.Towards this end, EQUA TlONS had sent letters
various NGOs,action groups and others concerned with tourism related issues
explore the possibility
jointly drafting and signing
memorandum on these matters,
the Committee.Reproduced below
the letter written to the Committee representing our concerns.
Dear Sir,We are glad that a Committee headed by you has beenconstituted by the Ministry of Environment & Forests with amandate to look into and recommend modifications
thecoastal regulations incorporated
the Environment (Protection)Act, (EPA)1986. To our mind, the EPA is one of the moreprogressive legislative measures adopted by our Parliament.
the year of Earth Summit, when around 100 world leadersare to sign the policy document to a sustainable andenvironmentally sensitive future of Mother Earth, it is a measureof the clout of the hotel lobby that a review of progressive lawsis being sought. This is subtantiated by the fact that the largestnumber of petitions challenging the EPA have been filed by fivestar hotels, as also the terms of reference of your Committeewhich is to "look into and recommend modifications, if needed,in the coastal regulations
the extent that they relate
tourism and hotel facilities
the coastal areas
Tourism is not merely an issue of the construction of hotels incoastal areas. There are much wider implications that need tobe looked
especially in the light of developments in Goa,Kovalam, Puri and elsewhere.We would
your Committee to look
the environmental,socio-economic and cultural implications of massive constructionactivity which
happen with any relaxation recommendedin this regard. A holistic assessment of socio-environmentalimpacts should also include "carrying capacity" studies. Thefollowing points should also be given due weightage.
Tourism is generally considered as an economic activity,withthe focus being on foreign exchange earnings. There is,however, little understanding of the socio-economic costsof tourism, calculations of which are usually ignored
tourism planning and development.
Is the Committee examining the existing state governmentand regional plans,
order that the proposed changes
EPA regulations do not clash with existing provisions? Thiswas precisely the case
Goa, when the Draft TourismMaster Plan was announced in
order to be effectively implemented,must be accompanied by the formation of watchdog ormonitoring bodies, with adequate representation of localpeople.
'carrying capacity' studies are being done for tourismdestinations, including those done by the WTO and UNDP,tbe results of such studies should be made
Relaxation of limits to construction activity will definitelyincrease the pressure on land for urban use which
to unregulated and imbalanced development and pollutionof natural resources.
Over-exploitation of ground water along coastal stretchesis bound to take place with large scale human habitationscoupled with consumptive practices like lawns and swimmingpools that are inherent to the luxury hotel sector.
a recent study of Mahabalipuram area, STEM (Symbiosisof Technology, Environment
Management) has warnedthat the existing levels of ground water may not besufficient to meet the growing demands of tourists. Theyalso fear that over-exploitation
ground water will lead tointrusion of saline water into the acquifers.
The impact on water supply
coastal areas has a directeffect
the coastal poor. While hotels have subsidisedwater supplies, the residents are forced to make
withminimal supplies.Coastal tourism
India is developing
areas where atleast two other forms of development are taking place:commercial prawn farming (inland), and nuclear powerplants. Both require vast amounts of sea water to bepumped directly inland. As such, seepage into drinkingwater sources could pose a major hazard. The Committeemay wish to examine this aspect as well.
While examining the environmental effects of tourism,what efforts are there to control human waste, sewage,garbage (including non-biodegradable plastics) and so on?Sand dunes have already been destroyed
severalcoastal stretches, so that tourists can have an unrestrictedview of the sea from their hotels. What preventive measuresare being planned in this regard? (A report recently by theliT, New Delhi, highlights this situation succinctly).
Tourism, it is claimed, promotes local employment. Mostsuch employment, however,
low-skilled, seasonal andunderpaid. Often it is servile and degrading, especially inthe so-called informal sector.Moreover, what happens to those employed by tourism