Eco Tourism

 By: Govind Kumar
Serene natural habitats are marketed and this is known as Eco Tourism, a branch of International Tourism. Nature and her pristine beauty are highlighted and Tourism without damaging Nature is encouraged.

Natural Philosophy, championed by Goethe and others, point out that Nature is the main efficient cause. While God is still invisible, the only visible manifestation is Nature.

I follow two philosophers this way
It was Nature, Nature, all I heard them say! (The Faust - Goethe)

Aimed to provide awareness to the tourists about the wisdom of Nature and the protective functions of the forests, Eco Tourism is educational in nature.

The guide and the tourist visit the naturally beauteous areas for understanding the cultural and natural history of environment, but taking care not to change or alter the integrity of the ecosystem. At the same time, this safe tourism provides economic opportunities to the local inhabitants, who also join in the green Conservation Movement !

It can also be defined as environmentally conscious tourism and not a search of pristine locations. It has to be sustainable with the continuous capacity to:
Safeguard natural environment, which is the base of tourist attraction;
Maintian and provide the quality of the satisfaction of the tourists , thus
benefiting the locals in the area.

There are many number of definitions of Ecotourism, each highlighting different aspects. It is to be noted that different parameters emerged in common to all eco tourism developmental initiatives.

Eco Tourism may be defined as that:

Which is based on Nature;
Where interpretation and education are important components;
Which is sustainable ecologically;
Which benefits the local people.

If any of these components are not satisfied, such a venture cannot be
classified as an Eco Tourism venture!

Tourism, without well thought out plans and managed programs, can mean the destruction of the natural habitat. Also the cultural shock concomitant with interaction with various cultures can also put the locals in danger. Stipulation of certain standarss and awareness campaigns amongst tour operators and travel agents reduces considerably this impact. Eco Tourism, therefore, is considered as a solution to tourism related environmental

The region of the Western Ghats of Kerala, with its tropical forest ecocystem, provides the natural advantage for this division of International tourism. In order to develop the immense potential of Kerala Tourism, our tourism products diversification is essential. Hence Western Ghats can be projected as the Eco Tourism Zone of Kerala. Eco Tourism adumbrates the concept of sustainability in Tourism. Future generations are protected, as
the needs of the now a day visitor is transformed with Green Education!

The Present Situation

The major tourism destinations can be classified as beaches, wild life sanctuaries, backwaters, hill stations, and festivals which represent culture. Kerala will have to upgrade its products and provide infrastructural facilities. There is no system at present through which the public can see the forest and have a lasting,quality experience. The visits to sanctuary, which is widely practised now, cannot be called as ecotourism. It is only mass tourism to a sanctuary. A more concentrated strategy, which is small group oriented and supply driven, is the need of the hour.

Those in charge should provide education and provision for learning process for the tourists, as Tourism needs close monitoring in an ecologically sensitive area.It is imperative that Tourism be ecologically sustainable. The economic benefit should benefit the locals to ensure sustainability.
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