Eco-tourism: The Road To Be Taken

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Over the past half-century, while the dynamics of travel are pivoting expeditiously, so are the requirements of travellers probing to reconnect with nature. As we talk more about bringing in and moving out a large number of tourists, there is a need to acknowledge the stronger nexus between eco-tourism and responsible travel. The pandemic has evoked a love for nature wherein slow and sustainable travel is a crucial concept travellers are relating the most to these days. As evident through the choices, responsible travel is taking a front seat, travellers are more inclined toward natural areas that conserve the environment, sustain the well-being of the local people, and involve interpretation and education about nature as well as its surroundings. ‘Tourism’, if considered a destination can be reached through several roads. The decision is to choose the road wisely, the one that would give the nature a chance to succour. Growing awareness amongst explorers and tourism facilitators is resulting India in becoming one of the most lucrative tourism markets. Surrounding WORLD TOURISM DAY, we have intended to collate quotes and opinions from the travel industry captains on aiding India to become prominent on the tourism stage and how Eco-Tourism can be one of the revival strategies to bring back the lost travel times…


JYOTI MAYALIndia to be established as a hub for travellers visiting Asia and utilise the vast potential regional tourism holds

We need to focus on ways to restore travellers’ confidence, to begin with. Yes, that’s the most important task for the travel trade or say for the Indian tourism industry. At the outset, the travel fraternity should focus on providing clear information to travellers and businesses, to limit the uncertainty to the maximum. Followed by adding value-added services using information technology. The 21st century is all about going digital, and to not only attract but to manage services offered to customers, businesses must shift to IT. Coming to the new prospects, we have extensively covered two major pointers during TAAI’s 66th Convention and even before that. It is time for us to establish India as a hub for travellers visiting Asia and utilise the vast potential regional tourism holds. And, to support that, the concept of developing Cruise tourism is one aspect, in addition to the further development of aviation infrastructure. With the required infrastructure in place, India could be marketed as a one-stop shop for travellers from across the globe and offered a variety of options including Wellness, Spiritual, Leisure, MICE, etc.

Eco-sensitive travellers are a blessing for tourism

Yes, indeed. Eco-tourism is one such vertical which can bring back the glory of various destinations, be it the newly evolved or the established ones. Eco-sensitive travellers are a blessing for tourism. They take interest in exploring new destinations while keeping the ecology maintained. Also, while visiting established destinations, they act as a role model for travellers to understand the value of hygiene, cleanliness, and above all enjoying nature in its purest form. Eco travellers carry with their positivity and they educate locals and tourists in an automated mode. Imagine someone not littering, not carrying or using plastics, and above all not leaving a trace behind. Such steps are welcomed by authorities, and locals, and spread the word around to maintain the ecology of the destination. Through the promotion of eco-tourism, we are promoting and adopting sustainable tourism practices which would eventually lead to the growth of tourism in India and across the globe.


DEV KARVAT

India has always been a hotspot for travellers around the globe

Although we are now at the tail-end of the pandemic scare, travellers are still concerned about their health and safety while on a trip. It is hence imperative for us to ensure the highest levels of hygiene and safety precautions backed by relevant travel protection plans to boost confidence amongst travellers.

Furthermore, with diverse natural and cultural legacies including 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, India has always been a hotspot for travellers around the globe. As custodians of the travel fraternity, I believe that it is our responsibility to preserve these sites and leverage technology to propel India on the global tourism map. Additionally, more focused efforts to improve India’s visibility as a tourist destination, such as the ‘Incredible India’ and ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ campaigns will help provide greater impetus to the tourism industry.

Eco-Tourism will be one of the most effective ways to promote tourism in India

With the concept of sustainability gaining greater momentum every day, eco-tourism will be definitely one of the most effective ways to promote tourism in India. I, therefore, feel that it should be the foundation on which we devise India’s tourism revival strategies. To further support this evolution, we as an industry should carefully plan and operate more eco- tourism sites including local participation. This will not only offer a differentiated experience to the travellers but will alsoprovide direct benefits to the rural population and facilitate attractive revenue-generating opportunities for the travel trade.


NISHANT KASHIKAR

Eco-Tourism is one of the revival strategies to bring back the lost travel times and opportunities

Sustainable and eco-conscious tourism is not a new travel trend and has gradually gained prominence and relevance among travellers and the industry at large over the last few years. Tourism boards, organizations and companies have become increasingly aware of the importance of proactively incorporating and integrating measures that support eco- tourism and sustainability across consumer offerings and business objectives. However, in light of the paused and reduced travel momentum caused by the pandemic and its accompanying lockdowns, travellers were provided with a magnified look at the damaging impact that their travels and footprint can have on the environment. This has amplified traveller interest to adopt and seek out sustainable travel alternatives, which has propelled slow and eco-tourism into mainstream focus.

Travellers are developing a more discerning appetite for travel

Travellers are becoming more intentional and thoughtful with their travel plans, as such we can expect to witness a rise in staycation and homestay options. This allows travellers to prolong their holidays by including multiple states or cities in their itinerary to maximize the purpose and resources used for their trip. For example, in expansive and wide countries like Australia, people can opt for greener travel options including self- drive journeys across states or residing in lodges on wildlife and nature reserves to support local communities and contribute to conservation efforts. Travellers are developing a more discerning appetite for travel that is also fine-tuning their preferences and choices, which will help the tourism industry create a stronger foothold for such a growing market that is expected to grow exponentially in the years to come.


DR SUBHASH GOYAL

Eco-Tourism in India is a niche industry

Eco Tourism can be one of the revival strategies to bring back the lost travel times and opportunities. India has 74% of the Himalayan Mountain ranges, 7500 km of Coastline, and beautiful islands like Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep. As we are all aware Ecotourism in India is a niche industry that has mainly developed in the past few years. Ecotourism is largely based on the concept of sustainable tourism or eco-friendly tourism. Ecotourism is tourism which is conducted responsibly to conserve the environment and sustain the well-being of local people. India has a biological park, zoological parks, tea plantations, wildlife sanctuaries, mighty mountains and lush green jungles all over the country. Being popular for its exclusive nature and tribal population, India is nature’s bounty and the best place to stay in the world. From the dramatic deserts of Rajasthan to the lush green forest of Cherrapunji, from the mighty Himalayas to the majestic deep blue beaches of the South, India throughout the decade has been a favourite ecotourism destination which hosts the rich flora and fauna. Thenmala in Kerala was the first ecotourism destination in India created to cater to Eco-tourists and nature lovers. Places like the Himalayan Region, Kerala, northeast India, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep islands are some of the places where you can enjoy the treasured wealth of Mother Nature. Today, India has many wildlife sanctuaries and protection laws. Currently, there are about 80 national parks and 441 sanctuaries in India, which works for the protection and conservation of wildlife resource in India. There are numerous Botanical and Zoological Gardens in India, which are working towards the enhancement of the Ecosystem.

Suggestions to promote Eco- tourism in our country

Government should take steps to protect nature, local and indigenous culture, traditional knowledge, genetic resources and the right to land and property. All important natural sites should be provided with proper infrastructure like roads, telecommunications, water, electricity, hotels, transport, guides etc. Government should arrange educational programmes for children and young people to enhance awareness about nature conservation and sustainable use.


KOMAL SETH

Ecology conservation and economic development are nexus goals of eco-tourism

In the international tourism industry, eco-tourism has become one of the most important sectors. In its best form, eco-tourism preserves the integrity of the ecosystem and delivers economic benefits to local communities that can encourage conservation. Ecology conservation and economic development are nexus goals of eco-tourism, which combines population growth and environmental conservation. However, some eco-tourism projects succeed in promoting both causes, while others fail. In some cases, eco-tourism may exacerbate environmental degradation and inequitable development.

Tourism is likely to undergo dramatic transformations in the near future. For eco-tourism to be successful, it must maximize its environmental and economic benefits while minimizing any ecological damage and disruption to local communities. Eco-tourism development should be carefully planned from the beginning, keeping these key points in mind:

  • The use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or water, rather than polluting fossil fuels, is often more practical, cost-efficient, and less of a strain on the environment.
  • Including residents as consultants or directors can help ensure community support for community-based, eco-tourism projects.
  • NGOs and conservation groups should collaborate with government officials and ecotourism operators. An organization such as this can provide start-up funding, training, and technical assistance that can enhance the legitimacy and sustainability of a project.

By 2040, tourism is likely to undergo dramatic transformations as a result of demographic changes, improved connectivity for destinations, technological innovations, and increased awareness of the need for more sustainable and inclusive growth, presenting a range of challenges and opportunities for destinations.


India is gradually rebuilding the economic blocks impacted by the global pandemic

India together with the rest of the world is gradually rebuilding the economic blocks that were impacted by the global pandemic, affecting various industries, not discounting the cruise tourism sector. However, with every challenge, there are also always new opportunities to discover and grow. For the cruise industry, India continues to have enormous potential both as a destination and source market. The pandemic may have delayed the industry’s growth but post-pandemic, we are observing a strong rebound and healthy demand for cruise travel, especially at Resorts World Cruises. Upon launching and within the first 2 months, we received over 20,000 cabin bookings for our Fly-Cruise from India for the Genting Dream departing from Singapore.

The gradual shift in demand towards conscious travel and eco-friendly tourism travel

Among our travellers from India, there is a gradual shift in demand towards conscious travel and eco-friendly tourism travel. This is indeed the way forward that will shape future travel offerings, including cruise travel. India has a large population and will require time but it’s heading in the right direction and given time, we foresee a growing demand for eco-tourism. At Resorts World Cruises, we remain highly committed to environmental sustainability and cruise lines alike are taking the lead by example through their practices and offerings from ship to shore. As the mindset among Indian travellers shifts, so will the quality of tourism across the different sectors.


ANKUSH NIJHAWAN

India has a huge potential for inbound and outbound sustainable tourism

The tourism and hospitality sector is one of the fastest growing industries globally in terms of FDI. Sustainable Tourism counts not just for travellers, but for tourism destinations and residents as well. Eco-tourism or sustainable tourism promotes environmental protection, wildlife conservation, poverty alleviation, and socio-economic development of the country. India has a huge potential for inbound and outbound sustainable tourism, considering its vast topography.

‘Regenerative Tourism’- A good time for global tourism to redevelop itself

The concept of ‘Regenerative Tourism’ is what we should explore further, the idea of regeneration- restoring or renewing is not new, however in the last few years, it is a term that is more relevant today. The idea is to leave a place better than it was yesterday to promote a better future for the tourism industry. This is a good time for global tourism to redevelop itself in a way that creates a positive impact on destinations and local communities.


PP KHANNA

Travellers are now more responsible towards tourism

From a low key celebrations since 2020 when pandemic created havoc in the world, to mark the World Tourism Day on September 27 this year with pomp and show around the globe with the theme ‘Rethinking Tourism’ by adopting new ways and means to create sustainable responsible tourism all around the globe. COVID 19 has left a bitter experience among the mankind as human suffering was at its worst. It had a lasting effect on tourism universally. Life has changed with a new normal and people adopting to new ways of life, and being more responsible and caring towards living. Pandemic brought about a massive change in human activities, which is more towards nature based activities. Now new trend is that travellers are now more responsible towards tourism. The world is literally on fire for sustainability and responsibility to preserve environment is to be adapted by all concerned with tourism.

Rethinking activities surrounding eco-tourism

Governments should embark upon on logical programme to educate parents and children from grass root level, to be make them aware what lies ahead for the future generations. If timely steps are not taken to be more responsible, life will be nothing, but a nightmare after few decades when the older generation may not be alive to see things happening around the globe. It is imperative that everyone engaged in tourism activities should rethink how do we go about bringing a social change to ensure our future generation will see an earth that is good for living for flora, fauna and mankind and will be a joy to go around from northern hemisphere to southern to see the beautiful things around us.


RAJIV MEHRA

Indians are ushering in a surge in Domestic Tourism

India with its hugely successful vaccination programme logging nearly 218 Crores vaccination done to date led to the health hygiene & safety measures that catalysed the revival of tourism in India. Indians were travelling within India in a big way ushering in a surge in Domestic Tourism and there were no rooms available, especially during weekends for the inbound tourists. It sent a signal to the world that if Indians can travel within India then foreign tourists can also do the same. The skies opened up, International travel began to trickle in. Countries across the world were removing the Covid restriction, and India too approached the same with cautious optimism. The stage was set for a plethora of possibilities that were on the anvil. This is where we are The Government of India knew that it was time to Rethink Tourism and measures to address this was mooted. The shift of focus from the City to the Countryside was prominent. Eco Destination started gaining traction. Yoga, Ayurveda and Wellness drew the preferences of the discerning tourists. Sustainable & Responsible Tourism advocating inclusive growth have become the watchwords. Digitisation has come into prominence and the Ministry of Tourism led from the front in the Digital Tourism Mission and used it in their marketing strategies. Online Interactive sessions with target countries were organised by the Ministry of Tourism which talked about the growing USPs of Brand Incredible India in all its manifestations. The Dekho Aapna Desh programme coupled with the Swadesh Darshan scheme brought to the fore the diverse destinations, cultures and diverse facets of tourism that adorns India.

IATO tabled a few measures strengthening Tourism

With the thrust given by the Ministry of Tourism and initiated by IATO TCS Withdrawal of Tax Collection of Source (TCS) on sale of overseas tour packages for foreign tourists who book tours through tour operators located in India and the Union Government’s positive stand on the removal of GST on services provided outside India as well as the GST for ferry service hired for transport of passengers became a reality. IATO has already tabled a few measures during its meeting with the policymakers. Physical Road Shows across target countries, FAM trips for foreign tour operators and bloggers and participation by the Ministry of Tourism in International Travel Marts were the imperatives put forward. Last mile connectivity through Air, Road and Rail, Investment in Tourism Infrastructure and New Product Development offers immense possibilities that can offer a fillip to tourism and the thoughts of the policymakers are well tuned in this direction. Dwelling on the recent developments Project Cheetah shows India’s Focus and possibility on Sustainable Development and the National Logistics policy to bring down transportation costs from 13- 14% to single digit. At the G20 Presidency, on 23-24, India plans to position itself as a must-visit Destination in the global arena. At the Dharamshala Tourism Ministers Meet: Best Practices by State Governments were brought to the fore and the states shared these with one another and address better coordination among them and with MOT GOI and stakeholders. 360 degrees’ perspective for the development of the tourism sector is on the anvil. The National Tourism Policy 2022 will usher in the framework of tourism development, supporting the tourism industry, Strengthening Tourism Infrastructure and developing tourism sub-sectors & subsets.


JURGEN BAILOM

India is a huge market offering a plethora of opportunities

Post-pandemic the whole travel and tourism industry has changed dynamically in terms of, both, expectations as well as reality. With the situation now becoming normal once again, the overall demand for travel and leisure has increased. That said, there is absolutely no denying the great potential that the tourism industry at large holds. India is definitely a huge market filled with a lot of opportunities and we are glad to have received such an encouraging response from our guests. Travel and Tourism have been a significant part of the Indian economy and I believe it has now more than ever become a bridge that brings cultures and people closer, initiates exchanges and fosters harmony in society at large.

Cordelia Cruises has borne good fruit – Glocal- Global yet Local

Indian domestic cruising is definitely new yet rapidly evolving. What we need right now is to work together and build a beautiful infrastructure to support all experiences. Port access that is well planned will lead to smooth embarkation and disembarkation which in turn contributes significantly to the overall experience that one takes back home. I believe that people are ready to experiment and explore. We as service providers strive to identify the needs and build upon them. The customer is king and we continue to cater with this mindset. No one formula can fit all but if we are looking at the overview, I would say, the approach Cordelia Cruises has taken has borne good fruit – Glocal- Global yet Local. Offering global-level infrastructure, services and amenities along with a local Indian touch.


ROMIT THEOPHILUS

Travellers are more inclined towards a ‘green-cation’

More and more people want to explore the local culture and have a positive impact on the community they are visiting. It probably might be the pandemic that has made people more aware of their surroundings. Travelling responsibly is of high importance for the respondents such as taking a ‘green-cation’ or being more likely to book travel with a brand that is committed to improving its environmental impact. Sustainable travel has grown in popularity in recent years as people have tried to mitigate the negative effects of tourism, either by avoiding damaging practices or offsetting them. The travel trends indicate that long-haul travel, neighbouring country tourism, rural and ethnic tourism, wellness and health holidays, cultural tourism, spiritualism, ecotourism, sports and adventure holidays, and coastal tourism and cruises are a few emerging areas of tourist interest. Lastly, would like to highlight over the remainder of 2022, corporate travel would grow significantly from its now-small base. Team meetings that have beenpostponed multiple times will finally take place. More conferences will shift back from online to in-person, and those that already have will likely see attendance improve. Even international trips should grow significantly, although some regions will recover faster than others.

GNTB to strengthen Germany’s position as a sustainable travel destination

The important goal of the GNTB is to strengthen Germany’s position as a sustainable travel destination in international competition. With the start of our new global campaign “Embrace German Nature”, GNTO, India along with the German National Tourist Board draws the interest of potential vacationers to Germany to the natural landscapes and sustainable vacation experiences in the rural regions. According to IPK International, Germany is currently in second place as a nature travel destination when Europeans travel around the world. We want to further strengthen these positions Germany has a longstanding tradition of being one of the most popular destinations. But what makes Germany a unique destination, is the world-famous “Gemütlichkeit”, great connectivity, proximity to nature, cosmopolitan outlook and traditions for hospitality and foremost the country’s excellent infrastructure. Many of our cities in Germany have recently shared exciting news about the city’s new hotel, venue openings as well as great events awaiting visitors in 2022 and beyond.


SANJAY KUMAR

Travellers are reducing their carbon footprint to opt for sustainable travel

Travel and Tourism is a crucial contributors to the overall economic growth. The sector witnessed a slowdown during the pandemic and is now getting back on its feet. The Government is focusing on increased connectivity and India’s aviation sector has become the third largest domestic aviation market in the world in terms of handling domestic traffic. The government has initiated schemes like “Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik” (Udan) for boosting regional connectivity. Also, the pandemic has led many travellers to discover short-haul journeys, reducing their carbon footprint because “it is trendy” to opt for sustainable travel.

IndiGo is dedicated to sustainable aviation and ecotourism

At IndiGo, we are committed to lowering our environmental impact through consistent measures. Some of these include induction of NEO aircraft to reduce fuel consumption by 15%, delivery of the first aircraft operating on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), signed MoU with IIT for development and deployment of SAF, joined the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow (CST) initiative and committed to blending 10% SAF in all our aviation fuel consumption by 2030. Under the IndiGo green mission to conserve water, we have successfully conducted trials with a new water faucet in 200 flights which reduced water consumption by 5.4 ltr/hr. We are dedicated to sustainable aviation and ecotourism can definitely be a driving force for this mission.