Responsible Tourism: What is it?
Take only memories
Leave only footprints
Tourism in India is important for the country’s economy and is growing rapidly. The World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated ₹16.91 lakh crore (US$240 billion) or 9.2% of India’s GDP in 2018 and supported 42.673 million jobs, 8.1% of its total employment
Responsible tourism is like sustainable tourism, however as often the word sustainability is often overused and not understood, responsible tourism has been adopted as a term used by the industry.
Responsible tourism is any form of tourism that can be consumed in a more responsible way.
Responsible tourism is tourism which:
- minimizes negative social, economic and environmental impacts
- generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities
- improves working conditions and access to the industry
- involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances
- makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage embracing diversity
- provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues
- provides access for physically challenged people”
- is culturally sensitive, encourages respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence
– Source-Cape Town Declaration, 2002
Tourism also generates a lot of footprints. Tourism can often cause environmental damage with risks like erosion, pollution, the loss of natural habitats and forest fires. Even if tourists behave responsibly, the sheer number of them can cause damage.
Basis above statistics and definitions we can conclude that tourism is at its boom and its’ time we become more responsible in all our endeavours, be it daily chores or tourism.
As people are becoming more aware there is an organic demand for Responsible Tourism, and, governments realising the same have established frameworks around their policies promoting Responsible Tourism. In the state of Kerala, the government has adopted Responsible Tourism as its tourism policy. Kerala is now the leading responsible tourism destination in the world. Kerala has successfully addressed the challenge of over-tourism by managing waste better and enabling the local community to benefit by securing additional incomes and employment. Uttarakhand State has also identified five ecotourism circles and three ecotourism destinations, which will be developed by the state forest department in a bid to promote tourism in this region. Each destination and circle will be administered as per its ‘carrying capacity’, which means the number of tourists entering these spots will be limited. The carrying capacity will remain in focus to maintain quality tourism along with responsible tourists.
Above initiatives are a step forward and we perceive that if we work in collaboration with the government together we can create a positive change.