From the very inception of life, travel has fascinated man. Travel and Tourism have been important social activities of human beings from time immemorial. The urge to explore new places within one’s own country or outside and seek a change of environment and experiences has been experienced from ancient times. Tourism is one of the world’s most rapidly growing industries. Much of its growth is due to higher disposable income, increased leisure time and falling cost of travel. Tourism today is much more than just developing products. It is more about quality, insightful thinking and ability to have global information about technology, partners, contacts and responding quickly to global and regional trends. The fundamental task before tourism promotion is to facilitate integration of the various components in the tourism trade as active participants in the nation’s social and cultural life. All must work towards a society where people can work and participate as equal partners. Tourism should be a vehicle for international cooperation and understanding of the various civilizations and a harbinger of peace. National Tourism Policy:
This is a new tourism policy, which builds on the strength of the National Tourism Policy of 1982. It aims at making tourism the catalyst in employment generation, environmental re-generation, development of remote areas and development of women and other disadvantaged groups in the country, besides promoting social integration. It would also lead to larger foreign exchange earnings and create conditions for more foreign direct investment. The mission of this policy is to promote sustainable tourism as a means of economic growth and social integration and to promote the image of India abroad as a country with a glorious past, a vibrant present and a bright future. Policies to achieve this will be evolved around six broad areas such as welcome (swagat), information (suchna), facilitation (suvidha), safety (suraksha), cooperation (sahyog) and infrastructure development (sanrachna). The principle of sustainable development stipulates that the level of development does not exceed the carrying capacity of area. It will be governments’ policy to ensure adherence to such limits through appropriate planning instruments, guidelines and enabling their reinforcement. Sustainable Tourism:
“…the tourism industry must be profitable and environmentally sustainable if it is to provide long term benefits, but this will not be achieved without a new and different approach to industry planning and development.” PATA, Endemic Tourism: A profitable industry in a sustainable environment, Kings Cross, NSW, Australia, 1992. Clearly sustainable tourism implies an approach to development aimed at balancing social and economic objectives with environmentally sound management. It is not synonymous with unlimited growth of tourism development. Although we use the phrase “sustainable tourism development”, this terminology can be considered misleading because it emphasizes continued and increasing growth rather than long-term viability or sustainability of tourism environments and cultures. Tourism development implies tradeoffs and, in fact, planning for sustainable tourism requires identifying possible constraints or limits for tourism development. While tourism is welcomed almost universally for the benefits and opportunities it creates, there is a growing recognition of the need to see tourism in its environmental context, to acknowledge that tourism and the environment are interdependent, and to work to reinforce the positive relationship between tourism and the environment. Maurice Strong stated in the 1993 Report of the World Tourism and Travel Council: “Protecting the environment is both a moral obligation and business imperative for the travel and tourism industry. As the world’s largest industry it can effectively reach millions of customers with a coherent, compelling environmental message. And the...
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