With the ever-increasing population, there has been an expeditious rise in the global tourism sector, which along with it has brought issues such as environmental degradation that have resulted in hindrances in the development tracts of the nations. It has given birth to adverse effects that move hand in hand with the former and degenerate bounties of Mother Nature, be it land, fresh water, air or marine resources.
The practice in a way has led to damage to the eco-system through waste and pollution caused by excessive human intervention. With the adverse effects that human species rests upon the nature with its self-centred interventions, a reality check is what is much needed. The serious matter has attracted the concerns of the global community .
Non-Aligned Movement, being a collaborative effort of developing nations, has given its serious thought to numerous issues for the betterment of the society. Non-Aligned Movement has urged its Member States for collaborative efforts towards achieving the goals. Ecotourism is one such approach that collectively credits the whole of the society.
Ecotourism as a term first emerged during the late 1980s with the growing global concern for sustainable practices but has gain momentum afresh and has proven itself to be a preserving travel practice to natural areas to appreciate and respect the cultural and natural history of the environment while simultaneously making efforts to ensure inactiveness of any sort of disturbances to the integrity of the ecosystem and creating economic opportunities making conservation and protection of natural resources of the utmost advantage to the local people.
The term ‘ecotourism’ has emerged amidst the growing concern for sustainable practices with regard to extending conditions that minimise the degenerative results of tourism on the environment.
Ecotourism has emerged as a practice that works towards the conservation of nature and biodiversity. It also gives way to a responsible travel that can be instigated without causing destruction to Mother Nature, ensuring environmental growth and adventure and advocating sustainable ways of living on the planet. In other words, the sustainable practice can be categorised as a tourism programme that accounts to be – ‘Nature’ based, ecologically sustainable where education and interpretation play roles of the major constituents and where local people are benefitted to a great extent. India adopted the very concept of ecotourism after the World Tourism Organisation announced 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism under the United National Environment Program.
In its efforts of environmental conservation and co-operating with the mechanism that the rest of the world worked with, the concept soon became a very popular ideology within India’s policy establishment. The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), a non-profit organisation that dedicates itself to promoting ecotourism globally lays stress upon the countries to adopt certain principles of utmost importance that are involved in managing ecotourism activities.
Several non-profit organisations have taken lead in promoting the cause with the start-up efforts that the government has put into play. The government of India has contributed its bit by giving a boost to city tours and adventure treks. Several volunteer travel programmes have been designed in a view to seek attention of the youth and nature lovers.
Apart from these, Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) have been included in the project. The ESZs are being developed to highlight India’s wildlife sanctuaries, forest reserves and biodiversity parks. Botanical and zoological gardens in a huge count have been involved in India serving the cause, that are operating towards the enhancement of the ecosystem. Despite the presence of enormous obstacles in the developmental path of ecotourism in India, the country, with the initiated efforts of Non-Aligned Movement, has managed to set them aside, giving way to public and private intervention. In a bid to promote the cause, organisations and NGOs in huge numbers have come forward to provide environmental education to the common people at the grass root level. These organisations run programs like livelihood training programs, food preparation and service training, introduction of solar products and guide training programs as initiatives to enhance the beauty of nature with the concerted efforts of the human race.
Preservation and conservation of environmental qualities, recreation and education are the ideologies that form the core themes behind the development of ecotourism in the country.