Tourism acts as a backbone for majority of nations especially the growing economies while the adverse impacts of tourism on the environment and the sociocultural are not ignorable. The tourism sector, if driven well in the right direction, can play a holistic process of economic, social and environmental sustenance as well as development. Sustainable form of tourism not only ensures the profitable income but also contribute in employment for local stakeholders as well as local community with its minimal stress on environment and traditional value system. To understand the concept of sustainable development and its contribution towards local community development for Himalayan Indian States, the case studies of North Eastern region and Northern most Himalayan Region of Ladakh are well-suited. Furthermore, the present study is also an attempt to address the key determinants of sustainability of tourism industry in the North Eastern India and to establish the importance of local entrepreneurship or local community participation in ensuring sustainable tourism development. It focuses on three major aspects of tourism industry like sustenance including region-specific sustainability considerations; entrepreneurial awareness towards sustainability and suggestive measures to ensure sustainable norms in tourism development in the region. KEYWORDS
Sustainable Tourism Development, Region specific sustainability norms, Tourism awareness, Strategic entrepreneurial focus, Local entrepreneurship, Community Participation.
he concept of sustainability has its origin in the growing environmentalism of 1970s. As defined in the Brundtland Commission Report (1987), sustainable development is the ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations’ to meet their own needs’ (WCED, 1987, p. 43). The report categorically stated that sustainable development is a dynamic process of changes which ‘are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations’ (WCED, 1987, p.46). Since then, many authors have developed their own definitions and adopted varying stances on ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’. Due to all these notions, the systems approach may be considered as one of the approachable ways of interpreting sustainable development. Linked with system dynamics, sustainability may be interpreted as a framework for managing change (Bakkes, 1997; Bell and Morse, 2003). The causal connection among the system elements leads to holistic conceptualisation of interdependent dynamics. On similar stances, the concept of sustainable tourism development has also been tried to be compounded with a plethora of definitional debates (Butler, 1999; Page & Dowling, 2002). Some of the prominent conceptualisations are: Maintenance of tourism viability in an area for an infinite period of time (Butler, 1993, p.29); tourism is to be truly beneficial to all concerned (Eber, 1992, p.2); long-term viability of tourism development (Bramwell and Lane 1993); ‘sustainable trinity’ approach of the integration of economy, society and environment (Farrell, 1999); forces of social change driving sustainable tourism (Prosser, 1994).
However, there is a strong need of determining a comprehensive methodological framework for attaining sustainable development. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO, 1996) defines sustainable tourism as Sustainable tourism development meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future. It is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems. The WTO in its guidelines to sustainable development...