In the past few years, the travel and tourism industry has been on an exponential rise in India and abroad, primarily because of the vast knowledge sharing happening via social media like Facebook, twitter. A lot of other factors like better transport connectivity, a rise in luxury budget hotels have also supported the growth of the travel and tourism industry.
A lot of Startups have come up and are offering various perks and discounts to the customer in the form of promotional e-cash, flight miles, voucher coupons if the customer books through their website. This all provides a win-win situation for both the company and the customer, and the customer slowly gets bitten by the travel bug.
Once the customer comes out of his shell and starts traveling, he starts exploring the unexplored beauty of different places, becomes an extrovert, and starts socializing with the localities and fellow travelers. This unleashes a wide range of possibilities to travel and explore without creating a hole in the pocket.
However, this rise of the travel industry has also resulted in the deterioration of certain places which were quaint and beautiful at one point in time but now are flooded with tourists and natural beauty has degraded.
Locations in Himachal Pradesh like McLoedganj, Triund, Kasol, Kheerganga, Manali have become flooded with tourists as these places are located just a couple of hours’ journey from Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi. The tourists who come in a flock usually leave the place dirty and messy with their litter and ruin the natural beauty of the destination.
Hence Eco-Tourism in India is the need of the hour.
But what is Eco-Tourism?
Fundamentally, eco-tourism means making as little environmental impact as possible and helping to sustain the indigenous populace, thereby encouraging the preservation of wildlife and habitats when visiting a place. This is a responsible form of tourism and tourism development, which encourages going back to natural products in every aspect of life. It is also the key to sustainable ecological development.
The International Ecotourism Society defines eco-tourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”
Its high time one needs to be conscious of the environment and make sure that his leisure activities don’t harm the natural beauty of the place. A responsible Wraveler shall keep the following Do’s and Don’ts in mind on their next trip so that they can’t part as a responsible traveler and follow eco-tourism.
- Carry back all non-degradable litter such as empty bottles, tins, plastic bags, etc. These must not litter the environment or be buried. They must be disposed of in municipal dustbins only.
- Observe the sanctity of holy sites, temples, and local cultures.
- Cut noise pollution. Do not blare aloud radios, tape recorders, or other electronic entertainment equipment in nature resorts, sanctuaries, and wildlife parks.
- In case temporary toilets are set-up near campsites, after defecation, cover with mud or sand. Make sure that the spot is at least 30 meters away from the water source.
- Do not take away flora and fauna in the forms of cuttings, seeds, or roots. It is illegal, especially in the Himalayas. The environment is really delicate in this region and the bio-diversity of the region has to be protected at all costs.
- Do not use pollutants such as detergent, in streams or springs while washing and bathing.
- Do not use wood as fuel to cook food at the campsite.
- Do not leave cigarette butts or make open fires in the forests.
- Do not consume aerated drinks, alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicant and throw bottles in the wild.
- Polythene and plastics are non-biodegradable and unhealthy for the environment and must not be used and littered.
If one happens to visit the popular hill stations like Kasol (Parvati Valley), McLoedganj, or the popular trekking routes such as Triund, Kheerganga one is sure to find toffee wrappers, chips packets, plastic water bottles littered all around. This litter creates a negative image in the mind of fellow travelers from different parts of the world.
Hence as responsible travelers, one must keep their actions in control and avoid littering any of the places they travel to. Seeing that we don’t litter and keep our trash in our bags instead of dumping it, the other passer-by tourists will also observe it and start implementing it. And this is how we will be able to restore the natural beauty of the places by decluttering it.
The reason for emphasizing Triund and Kheerganga is primarily that these are comparatively easy treks that can be done in a day or two and don’t need too many trekking gears. What was once a quaint little camping ground has now become a public camping ground with tents and toilets fixed permanently.
Contributed By: Arnav Mathur
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Read more about his travel escapades at Eat, Travel, Live and REPEAT.