How to develop sustainable tourism in India ?

The World Tourism Report defines sustainable tourism "as a model form of economic development that exemplifies stewardhip of environment and sensitivity to community and cultural aspirations." A new dimension has been added by sustainable tourism. It takes into account both the conservation and preservation of the physical and cultural environment of a particular region. Hence, under sustainable tourism natural resources of the locality are to be located within the parameters which would not degrade the natural assets and the traditional livelihood of the community.

Under the aegis of this novel approach efforts are on to encourage the community members to set the pace and direction of tourism development in a manner consistent with their lifestyle and tradition in order to respect the cultural heritage of every region. Integrated .community participation between the local people, the local government and national level plan makers has to be adopted.

Ecology and economy are becoming ever more interwoven. Protection of the environment land development of tourism should not be seen as separate challenges. In order to be economically sustainable tourism must be environmentally sustainable to both the natural and the human environments.

It is the responsibility of the local community to wisely manage their regional assets for their own advancement and for a better quality of life. Clean physical surroundings and protected environment would provide better quality of life to the local community and the tourist alike.

The onslaught of colonialism and the rising pressures of commercial and consumer demand which wrecked havoc upon the indigenous community are poignant reminders for more careful utilization of the regional assets. It is of salience that World Tourism Report senses the alienation of local inhabitants and takes into consideration the various sensitive issues while evolving the strategies of sustainable tourism. It realizes the sense of deprivation and marginalization of the local inhabitants. In its principles for sustainable tourism the Report focuses upon the broader vision which incorporates following guidelines:

1) Tourism planning, development and operations should be in the spirit of sustainable development in being cross- sectoral and integrated, involving different government agencies, private corporations, citizens groups and individuals so as to provide for the widest possible benefits.

2) Agencies, corporations, groups and individuals should follow ethical principle which respect the culture and environment of the host area, the economy and traditional way of life, the community and traditional behavior, leadership and political patterns.

3) Due regard should be given to the protection and appropriate economic use of the natural and human environment in the host areas.

4) Tourism should be undertaken with equity in mind, with the idea of access to a fair distribution of benefits and costs among tourism promoters and host peoples and their areas.

5) Good information, research and communication on the nature of tourism and its effects on the human and cultural environment should be available prior to and during development. This information should be known to all parties, including the local people, so that they are in a position to participate in and influence the direction of, development in their area. This would reinforce the community spirit and negate the sense of alienation.

6) Local people should be encouraged to undertake leadership roles in the planning and development of their regional assets with the assistance of government, financial, business and other interests.

7) There should be integrated environmental, social and economic planning to link with existing uses, ways of life and environmental considerations.

8) Careful monitoring should be done to allow local community to take advantage of opportunities offered by new change.