Ecotourism means management of tourism and conservation of nature in a way so as to maintain a fine balance between the requirements of tourism and ecology on the one hand and needs of the local communities for jobs, new skills, income generating employment and a better status of women on the other. The most important feature of the growing ecotourism industry in India is its capacity to generate large-scale employment opportunities, particularly in remote and underdeveloped area.
Travel and tourism is the second highest foreign exchange earner in India. Considering the potential, government has given organisations in this industry export housestatus. The industry is recognising the potential of domestic tourism as well.
Ecotourism sector is growing fast and various Ecotourism projects are coming up in Himalayas, Southern states and NE India. However, Government of India is yet to finalise its Ecotourism policy (MoEFCC released a ‘draft Guidelines for Ecotourism in and around PAs’ in 2011). Recently, it was declared by the MoEFCCthat it has prepared a National Ecotourism Policy to guide the growth of this sector. Ecotourism is the need of the time and a policy on the same to guide the sector was awaited since long. Often under the garb of eco-friendly tourism, much damage has been done by private players in booming tourism market of India, in the absence of any policy. Now, picture should change for better.
Keeping in view, the importance of responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people we have embarked on an initiative to develop Certification Standard for Eco-tourism for areas in and around the forest. NCCF as a national certification standard setting body has initiated the process for the development of assessment standards for Certification of Eco-tourism.
We seek your valuable comments, feedback and suggestions to take this idea forward and elicit support of relevant stakeholders