By Govind Kumar
Serene natural habitats
are glorious in their pristine purity. They are marketed and this is known as Eco Tourism, a branch of International Tourism. Nature and her
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 continous capacity to safeguard natural environment, which is the base of tourist attraction. Maintain 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 !
So Eco Tourism is Green Tourism. Tourism, without well thought out plans and managed programs, can mean thedestruction of the natural habitat. Also the cultural shock concomitant with interaction with various cultures can also put the locals in danger. Stipulation of certain standards 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 problems.
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 generatoins are protected, as the needs of the now a day visitor is transformed with Green Education !
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 her products and provide infrastructural
facilities, if she is to benefit from the boom in the travel and tourism industry.