India’s eco-tourism policies are too heavily tilted towards managing tiger reserves.
This has clearly affected the development and growth of eco-tourism as a complete experience. In fact, it has been affecting tigers too as people disturb them while trying to get a glimpse. “There’s too much stress on large mammals (like elephants, rhinos & tigers). The challenge for us is how to move away from this focus,” Vinay Luthra, chairman of the Karnataka Tourism Board observed.
What a robust eco-tourism policy should look like – was the topic of the workshop at IIM Bangalore in February 2017. It was put together by Dharthi and SustainabilityNext in collaboration with IIMB (Centre for Corporate Governance & Citizenship.) The participants represented different stakeholders – forest department officials, tourism board members, resort owners, community-run resorts, NGOs and academia.
It’s surprising that India and most of its state governments, with the exceptions of Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, are yet to announce a comprehensive eco-tourism policy. Karnataka was a pioneer when it announced its ‘Wilderness Tourism Policy’ a decade ago. The state is known to have drafted an eco-tourism policy as well recently, but a few contentious issues and vested interests are said to holding back from announcing it.
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