ourism for many countries or even smallest possible towns in most of the countries is a Hen that lays golden eggs and contributes a lot to a nation’s economical growth.Of late you must come across many buzzwords such as “Climate Change”, “Global Warming”, “sustainability” “Responsible travelling” “Eco friendly” “Ecotourism” and “Sustainable Tourism”.
What Does All This Notify?
Almost everyone desires a break from their daily routines, their work, the hustle and bustle of the city life. And to break the monotony, we decide to take a short vacation or an escapade amidst nature. And then what we are offered are the exotic tour packages, beach parties, cruise parties, etc.But are the hill stations, forts, backwaters, beaches, and other similar so-called “Touristy” places the same today, as they were a few decades back.Having just one glance at these places will make you realize the impact of the damage being caused.The breathtaking landscapes have left economically significant footprints on the lives of the local people who earn their bread and butter in such places, surviving solely on the Tourism opportunities of that place. But extreme tourism has led to undesirable consequences.
The Consequences of Which Are:
With the growing awareness these days, however, understanding the concept of sustainable tourism becomes imperative for everyone.
What is Sustainable Tourism?
Sustainable tourism is defined by many.
But what it simply means is respecting the locals, their culture and their environment, making your holiday a little more exciting and fun-filled with a learning experience about your hosts and their abode.Be it your business tour, or vacation for leisure, etc. you need to be aware of your actions as a responsible tourist and their socio-economical impact on the lives of your host destination.Simply put, you need to be a little more environmentally conscious considering the other dimensions of sustainability, such as: economical and socio-cultural as well. That would constitute a complete sustainable tourism package.Here is an example of irresponsible travelling, which led to much chaos in the once so scintillating and pure atmosphere of the region of Leh, Ladakh in India.
The Catastrophic Degradation of Environment in Leh
With the release of the movie “3 Idiots” in India, the tourism almost exploded in the breathtakingly scenic and calm region of India – LEH!
And as a result – everything changed! Definitely the tourist attraction immediately saw an exponential growth in the economic status of the region.
But this tourism explosion also led to major changes in their ecology paving ways for more modernized infrastructure in the town of Leh and thereby causing havoc in the once so naturally replete town into a concrete jungle and more so caused a major depletion of the natural resources such as - Water!
The people in the town are majorly dependent on spring water for their domestic needs.
And with the mushrooming of Hotels and Guesthouses across the town, accommodating the flood of tourists in the peak season (that is June – September), there has been a tremendous proliferation in the usage of modern toilets, shower facilities, etc. And in the desire to appease their travelling customers, the hotels provide these facilities 24/7. Imagine the burden on the land causing all of these hotels and guesthouses to dig up plenty of bore wells.
And trust me its not only the water shortage problem, a glimpse at Pangong Tso lake will bring horrifying images to you unlike what they showcased in the movie – 3 idiots.
Now the state has been inundated with stalls selling fast food, trash containing poly bags, plastic chips packets, plastic bottles, etc. all hampering the environment.
And being a very fragile ecology, the trash in Leh-Ladakh is not able to degrade and keeps mounting as a burden with every passing year.
This extreme northern region of India is in such a plight these days owing to all the irresponsible behavior of the tourists and to some extent the locals who forgot to take care of their own environment while attending to their guests.
But off late the government has started promoting the idea of ecotourism or sustainable tourism throughout the nation including the degraded and now-polluted towns of Leh-Ladakh.
One of the major changes they incorporated in this highly fragile ecology to prevent the water shortage or wastage problem is to create dry toilet facilities for tourists, and also encouraging them to opt for home stays rather than hotel and guesthouses.
Gaining more insights on the impacts of our hazardous and irresponsible travelling will lead us to comprehend the sustainability issues and also make us more aware of responsible travelling.
Another important step is to reduce on plastic waste.
Similarly there are many other places not only in India, but around the world, which have bore the brunt of increased careless tourism.
So how about having a great exchange between different cultures and sects, in the name of tourism?
Understand that the true meaning of tourism lies in the give and take of values and respect for one’s natural surroundings.
And also a feeling of bonding and rejuvenation through interaction with people belonging to different cultures, and so on.
How do we Achieve Sustainable Tourism?
Here are a few tips for you to consider if you really care for our mother nature and want to take every necessary step in order to preserve its natural resources keeping the ecology and environment intact.
Well these were just a few tips. But you can also ask the accommodation providers if they have compost or recycling facilities as well, taking a step further in achieving sustainable tourism.
Ultimately, refraining from indulging in bad habits while travelling can help you achieve sustainable tourism, thus, easily making you a responsible citizen of your country.
Happy travelling sustainably!