The Essence of Responsible Tourism:
Responsible tourism could mean travelling on public buses with the local people rather than looking at them through the window of a private tour bus. In another words, staying at a small, locally owned guest house rather than a large, foreign-owned hotel. Additionally, it also means travelling in small groups that are less intrusive. Therefore give more opportunity for interaction with the local crowds. Regardless of means of transportation or the group size we travel in, a salient feature of responsible tourism is interacting with the communities we visit with respect.
Our sustainable tourism policies and laws are constantly evolving. Our commitment should be towards socially conscious i.e. grassroots style travel must change (if not changing for the better) or do not change.
The Reason Behind Responsible Tourism:
Rural communities in fairly remote places often struggle to survive – and as they lose economic viability and their young people head for the cities, so too they lose traditional knowledge and skills. It is important that the income created through these tourism enterprises is real but supplementary to traditional livelihoods. Additionally, by working with local communities, small players of the tourism industry and making them more sustainable, tourists will deeply change the existing tourism development paradigm.
The Reason Behind Responsible Tourism in Rajasthan:
The Rajasthani state of Pushkar is a well-known tourist destination across India and the world. Tourism has been an essential part of its social, cultural, economic, and environmental development for several decades. Over time and with an ever increasing inflow of tourists, Pushkar’s natural environment has completely changed. This is because of infrastructure development to meet the demands of the large number of tourists. Due to irresponsible tourism, the price of land, water, energy, accommodation, and tourism products and services have been increasing, and several adverse impacts, such as pollution, loss of natural vegetation and landscape, degradation of the natural environment the worsening condition of Ghats and temples, congestion, and cultural dilution and commodification have been observed.
Several studies were conducted on various aspects of Pushkar connected to tourism, culture, cuisine, the Pushkar Fair and cultural heritage. Several studies have also been conducted on designing models for measuring the attitude and satisfaction of the local residents towards various aspects of tourism. The negative socio-cultural impacts of tourism, local residents were not satisfied with present tourism development in the region. Also, they were not sure about the future either.
Point to Consider:
There should be an equal and appropriate development of socio-cultural, environmental, and economic aspects of the destination. This makes the development of tourism in sustainable ways. It is important to reduce the negative socio-cultural impacts, negative environmental impacts. Such as congestion, pollution, noise, degradation of natural resources, temple, Ghats, lake, waste and sewage problems, etc. While negative economic impacts include over dependence on tourism, lack of employment for local people, etc. Over the years, these negative impacts have been quite visible, causing serious problems for sustainable tourism development.
In order to minimize all such negative impacts, local residents, stakeholders, Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and the Pushkar tourism board have started to work collectively. The aim is the development and promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism.
Disclaimer: the case study discussed above is a summary of a research paper published by S. Tiwari, N. P. Popowycz, S. K. Gupta and M. P. Swart in December 2021 titled ‘Community Satisfaction toward Tourism Development in Pushkar Region of Rajasthan, India’.
In a Nutshell:
Responsible tourism should also ideally involve partnerships. For example, environmental and community development NGOs on both regional and local levels. Also, design new tours that support more local communities and eco-friendly operators. Tourists who travel with the consciousness of being responsible should respect cultural differences, local customs and traditions. There may be difference in behavior from their own. So one must take the time to learn what behavior is likely acceptable in the community. Tourism can act as a force for positive change provided you travel responsibly. The outflow of your money will be justified and used sustainably.
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