Tourism is all about valuing the most precious treasures on Earth. That includes – magnificent mountains, soothing seas, dense forests, wildlife, cultural extravaganza, history, people and so on. Tourism is one of the biggest industries in India that contributed US$ 121.9 billion in 2020 and expected to reach US$ 512 billion by 2028 [Source]. Tourism can be a catalyst for growth in the local economy supporting one in every ten jobs while providing opportunities for enterprise and funds for conservation.
However, if it is not managed well, tourism can have negative impacts on local communities and environment. Protecting the environment has become increasingly important as we learn more about our impact on the world we live in. That’s where sustainable tourism comes into place. With sustainable tourism we ensure to protect these precious resources in an unproblematic way. It is more about responsible tourism which is aimed at creating positive impact on the environment, economy and communities.
3 Pillars of Sustainable tourism:
Sustainable tourism is a guest focussed approach with special attention to social & economic benefits. It also includes protecting the cultural heritage and environment. The initiatives are bound to fail without proper management. It’s important to develop a pathway to implement and manage sustainable practices. DSMS, a reputed institution in Durgapur offers travel and tourism management course that enables students to identify the needs of today as well as predict the future trends to prepare themselves and stay relevant.
- Cultural Sensitivity:
Travellers today want to cherish the local experiences and be a part of the culture and tradition. Creating an authentic and safe travel experience for all visitors is a key way to address this need. By involving local people as employees and partners, it is easy to reinforce cultural values as well as maximise economic benefits. Tourism Management Courses from top institutions in India impart knowledge about various cultural aspects which further help students to shine in their tourism career.
- Environmental Impact:
By volunteering in sustainable restoration projects, choosing energy conscious modes of transport, purchasing local products from small businesses – are some of the ways to reduce the impact of tourism on the natural environment and ecosystem we live in. Encouraging local communities to spread awareness on conservation and reforestation is a crucial part of sustainable tourism.
Advantages of Sustainable tourism:
- Sustainable tourism promotes conservation of wildlife by allowing them stay and thrive in the wild. It doesn’t support keeping them in captivity and using as tourist attraction. It prevents natural habitats from being destroyed.
- In sustainable tourism, hotels & accommodations made with eco-friendly materials are mostly preferred. It also promotes taking steps to limit the waste produced, using eco-friendly vehicles (like bicycle, instead of a car) and sourcing food locally. The idea is to ensure that environment is not degraded physically or visually as a result of tourism.
- Sustainable tourism contributes to the wellbeing of local people. By creating job opportunities, funding for local projects sustainable tourism stimulates local economy.
- Sustainable tourism is all about bringing people, businesses and government together by embracing strategies that benefit the environment, local communities and overall, the planet in the long run.
Ecotourism, community tourism, rural tourism – all comes under Sustainable tourism. Visiting the areas of natural beauty with particular focus on ecological conservation is Ecotourism. When local communities invite tourists to visit a place and provide them accommodation for a realistic experience, that’s called community tourism. Rural tourism centres around visiting rural areas where tourists focus on explore natural features instead of built-up tourist destinations.
Sustainable tourism is a shared responsibility. Tourists, Government as well as local people – all have a role to play in protecting our environment, wildlife and communities from the negative consequences of tourism.