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Ecotourism is a new concept in tourism, which was originally sparked off by the idea of making harmonious co-existence with nature a reality once again. As defined by the Ecotourism Society, it is the responsible travel to natural areas, which conserves the environment and sustains the well being of local people. Today, ecotourism is one of the fastest-growing segments of the tourism industry. Its potential for growth is virtually unlimited. Any tourism program which is nature – based, ecologically sustainable, where education and interpretation is a major concept and where local people are benefited can be called ecotourism. The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines ecotourism as “responsible travel that conserves the environment and sustains the well - being of local people”. Clearly, at a time when traditional conservation through enforced protection of natural areas was being questioned for its effectiveness and social impacts, strategies such as ecotourism offered considerable potential for integrating conservation with development.
MEANING OF ECOTOURISM:
Eco-tourism is defined as, “that form of tourism that involves travelling to relatively undisturbed natural areas with the specific objectives of studying, admiring and enjoying nature and its wild plants and animals as well as any existing cultural aspects, past or present, found in these areas”. Eco-tourism is distinguished from mass tourism or general resort tourism by having a lower impact on the environment and by requiring less infrastructure development.
ELEMENTS OF ECOTOURISM:
1. 2. 3.
A natural environment as its prime attraction. An optimum number of environment friendly visitors. Activities which do not have any serious impact on the
Positive involvement of the local communities.
KERALA – THE MOST ECO TOURIST RIGION OF 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.
ECOTOURISM CENTERS IN INDIA
RAJASTHAN ECO TOURISM: Rajasthan, the land of the great Indian Deserts, is not all about of its colorful
culture and fascinating architectural masterpieces, but it also offers perfect conditions for Eco Tours. Rajasthan has some of the finest national parks of India and is home to many indigenous tribes in the country. The deserts of Rajasthan including the great Thar Desert are home to some of the most endangered and rare wildlife species and plants. All these factors make Rajasthan a wonderful eco tour destination to be in. Enjoy an exciting Rajasthan Eco Tour with India Travel Portal and experience.
HIMACHAL PRADESH ECO TOURISM: The Himalayas, the youngest, loftiest of all the mountains in the world and
embracing seven out of the ten highest peaks, sprawl approximately 2,560-kms from North western to the south eastern along with its extension in North eastern India and has breadth from 250-km to 400-km. States of India namely Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttranchal and Darjeeling district of West Bengal are located in Himalayas. In Himalayas, medicinal herbs have been growing throughout nature kindness from the times immemorial. Adventure sport is another area of tourism activities, which yields greater scope.
MADHYA PRADESH ECO TOURISM:
The state of Madhya Pradesh (MP) is unique in its tourism offering being one of the most prominent states of India that is topographically land locked. But the lack of a coastline has not taken away from its charm, because quite evidently Madhya Pradesh’s unique selling point (USP) is its rich and varied forest cover, easily making it one of the most promising eco-tourism products of India. Playing its strength to its advantage, the state has slowly but surely metamorphosised into an internationally recognised and sought after eco-destination. Madhya Pradesh formulated its first but progressive eco-tourism policy in the year 2001-02.
UTTARANCHAL ECO TOURISM: The main purpose of my visit to Uttaranchal was Jim Corbet National park.
It was just like a dream for me to see the tigers roaming in the internationally aclaimed park. Spanning over an area of 535 sq km the park is situated in the souther sector of Pauri Garhawal. The park houses animals like panther, sloth bear, sambhar, swmp deer and birds like Jungle fowl, khaleeh phesant, pae fowl and many other. The state of Uttaranchal has fast emerged as a major tourist destination. This could be attributed to its richly endowed natural splendour.
TAJ GARDEN RETREAT : Taj Garden Retreat, Kumarakom, a venture of Taj Group of Hotels in Kerala
India, is a 123-year-old colonial mansion on the banks of Vembanad Lake revamped to fit the bill of a luxury resort. With luxury villas, cottages, heritage rooms, anchored and floating houseboats, Taj Garden Retreat, Kumarakom, is popular with international and domestic tourists for its luxurious comforts, personalized service, colonial architecture and modern amenities, private pools and private lagoon.
The Taj Garden Retreat has dining facilities including a Dining Room with an appealing seating arrangement and the Hampton Bar with a variety of wines and liquors.
SARISKA TIGER HAVEN: Sariska Tiger Haven is an exclusive wildlife resort located near Sariska
National Park and is the perfect place to relax in peace with simple pleasures offered by the abundant natural treasures at the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary. The Tiger Haven Sariska Resort has been promoted by a naturalist & wildlife expert, Dinesh Durani. Tiger Heaven Resort offers luxury rooms in cottage style with terracota stone roof. Surrounded by vast green lawns to laze around and an ambience of village life with cobbled pathways, Tiger Haven is spread over an area of 5 acres.
WILD GRASS LODGE: Since the Wild Grass Lodge is located just outside the Kaziranga National
Park, it is the best option for the tourists who are planning to visit the Kaziranga National Park. Kaziranga National Park is reputed for the one-horned Rhinos through out the world. These pre-historic creatures (50 million years old) are the pride of the Kaziranga National Park. People far and near come to the sanctuary to see the Rhinos, one of the most endangered species in our ecosystem. Wild Grass Lodge is ideally designed for the visitors to the rhino sanctuary.
MANELAND JUNGLE LODGE : Maneland Jungle Lodge is designed to match the asthetics of the area &
stylized using local material & construction techniques. The lodge nestling in small
hills offers a perfect blend of the wild, exciting & even romantic experience of the forest. The Maneland Jungle Lodge is the most ideal place for the nature lovers. Located close to the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, this lodge is the best accommodation for the people, who are in search of the Asiatic Lions. The Gir National park is one park, which inhabits Asiatic lions, a rare and endangered creature in our ecosystem.
SPICE VILLAGE HOTEL: Spice Village is located at a distance of 140-kms from Kochi airport and is
just outside the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The Spice Village is at the park entrance. Enjoy a stay within the lap of nature and get the chance to appreciate nature’s wonders. Each aspect of the village has been carefully chosen to preserve the environment, such as the elephant grass roofs of the cottages at the village.
TIGERS DEN RESORT: The Tiger Den resort is located in village Sherpur adjoining Ranthambhor
National Park in the state of Rajasthan in India. Tiger Den Resort, spread in an area of 5 acres on the border of the Ranthambhore National Park, is a place which refreshes your aesthetic senses. Situated amidst the majestic Aravali hills, booming with flourishing flora and fauna, the resort provides a soothing warmth of the sight set in peaceful ambience. The Tiger Den Resort is barely 5 minutes drive to the main entrance of the Ranthambore National Park.
ADVANTAGES OF ECOTOURISM IN INDIA
In the days to come, eco-tourism can be developed as a new model to bring about sustainable forest management. The various ways in which eco-tourism can be beneficial for Indian forestry are as follows: 1. GREATER PUBLIC: AWARENESS GENERATION AMONG THE
Eco-tourism is the best possible manner in which these forest-independent communities can be made aware of the problems faced by Indian forestry and their combined clout could be used to advance the cause of forestry in India. Ecotourism could also expose school children – the future generation of policy makers to the relevance and significance of our forests. As people today are becoming increasingly aware about environmental issues, this is the right time to promote eco-tourism. 2. BENEFITS FOR THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES: Eco-tourism can play a very significant role in reducing the dependence of local communities both forest dwelling and forest dependent) on the forests. and so on.
BENEFITS FOR THE FORESTS AND THE FOREST By providing the local people with alternative sources of income, eco-
tourism would drastically reduce the biotic pressures in the region which would automatically lead to greater habitat improvement.
Eco- tourism brings badly needed cash to poor regions, and developing the economy as well as promoting Nature and using it as a resource in a sustainable way instead of destroying it. It mean enhancing the money making possibilities for the concept of eco- tourism. This is a good thing because it produces cash to look after the flora and fauna. If you mean as settlement land for expanding populations or farming this is bad. Although thousands of people could be incorporated into eco tourism, living amongst the animals and plants so to speak and being part of the concept, and making a living . Eco tourism makes far more money in a sustainable way than farming ever will with hotels services and the labor that goes with that cash flowing directly into communities. Farming is limited in life span (unless it is agro forestal) and the money is limited to very few people who own the operations and pure settlement is pure destruction. The immense popularity of eco-tourism stems from the fact that people are becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental hazards and the importance of the existence of diverse flora and fauna. The ecological diversity of India is arguably the most varied in the world. It is home to some of the rarest species of flora and fauna. Animal lovers throughout the world hope to rediscover the wild life of India and there is no reason to doubt that India is becoming a very popular destination for big game lovers. Among the few extremely popular eco-tourism spots, Chennai Crocodile Bank, Gir National Park, Corbett National Park, The
Sundarban and Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary are famous worldwide. Tourism infrastructure around these reserved forests and sanctuaries have developed and these places have become very important tourist locales.
PROPOSED WORLD HARMONY PROJECT HOSPITALITY & ECO TOURISM CENTER