Must make sustainable tourism possible

Environmental protection and sustainable tourism are closely linked to each other and all those related to the hospitality or tourism industry must endeavour to make sustainable tourism possible.

This was the idea that dominated the 25th annual Somnath Chib Memorial lecture, organised by the Inder Sharma Foundation, on Saturday.

Talking at the day-long event, which included a panel discussion, Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja said the Department of Tourism was committed to conserving the environment and promoting sustainable tourism. The minister said her department has already come up with a set of policies and guidelines for development of eco-tourism and take into account a selective approach, scientific planning, effective control and continuous monitoring to help preserve, retain and enrich our “worldview, lifestyle and cultural expressions”.

The welcome address by Inder Sharma, Managing Trustee, Inder Sharma Foundation and Chairperson, Select Group, was followed by a keynote address by Dr Donald E Hawkins, Professor of Tourism Policy School of Business, George Washington University, USA.

At the subsequent discussion, moderated by Sharma, panelists deliberated upon sustainable tourism and the role of tourism in conservation.

Geoffrey Lipman of the Dehaan Institute, University of Nottingham, UK, said “while Europe remains the dominant tourism destination currently, by 2050, Asia will emerge as the largest tourism host. Hence, there was an imminent need for us to move towards more renewable energy. The shift, he said must necessarily be made over the next four decades”.

Panelists like PATA chairperson Hiran Cooray, Foundation for Aviation & Sustainable Tourism director general Gurcharan Bhatura, ITC-Welcome Group vice-president Niranjan Khatri and IBEX Expeditions chairperson and MD Mandeep Singh Soni said for integrated development of the environment and tourism local community should be involved and economic development of the area ensured.

They said physical planning and design should integrate eco-friendly measures, and a suitable balance must be established among environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development to guarantee its long-term sustainability. The speakers said it should thus make optimal use of environmental resources, maintain essential ecological processes and help to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.

From Indian Express

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