May 13, 2007
Key comments in a survey conducted by Planeta.com
How do you characterize ecotourism in the country where you live? Provide examples of best or worst practices
PAKISTAN - Ecotourism is a new concept in Pakistan. Some people understand its true concept but most of the people in travel trade are not
fully aware about the concept
INDIA - Ecotourism is becoming one of the major attractions of Kerala. In this small state, ecotourism activities and programs are mainly
in the wilderness areas. Ecotourism programs in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary are the examples of best practices, because of the participation of the local community. Worst practices are the business
magnets trying to project themselves as leaders of the ecotourism bandwagon of Kerala. The whole tourism management authority of government is being manipulated by this highly influential group
What are the noteworthy achievements in ecotourism in the past five years?
PAKISTAN - In Pakistan people from travel trade have started thinking more seriously the negative impacts of general and tourism and there is better growth of understanding about the
concept of ecotourism during the last five years.
INDIA - In India, especially in Kerala, more travellers and entrepreneurs have become aware of ecotourism. Indigenous people are making an alternate livelihood from these programs in the Reserves
i mentioned earlier, and in turn, they are working with the state forest department to protect the jungles they live in which is indeed a noteworthy achievement.
January 30, 2007
An amazing treetop walk through the dense forests of Naduvathumoozhy, near Konni, is likely to become a reality soon. And God’s Own Country will be able to offer tourists one more major attraction.
"The idea is to set up the facility at Naduvathumoozhy, on the banks of the Achencoil river, near Konni, in cooperation with the Forest Department and the Tourism Department,’’ District Collector of Pathanamthitta Ashok Kumar Singh, who is the chairman of
the District Tourism Promotion Council, told The Hindu .
Mr. Singh, a former Additional Director of Tourism, said the treetop walk would be similar to those in Australia and many southeast African countries.
He said the project was part of the council’s efforts to provide a range of recreational amenities to visitors with different interests and varying levels of trekking and hiking experience. The proposed facility would be the first of its kind in the whole
country, he said. What made the project unique was its structure. The walkway would be made of light-weight steel trusses built on steel pylons to form a secure ramp, he said.
"The walkway can be erected, linking giant trees in the forests. A boardwalk meandering through the thick forests and that too at a height of 50 to 60 metres will be really amazing to the visitors.’’
The length of the walkway can be from 1 to 1.5 km. The visitors can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy from the hanging walkway. It will be a peaceful experience with quiet spots to sit and reflect on the special nature of the forest. The walk
under the canopy of thousands of stars will provide the opportunity to see nocturnal wild creatures.
Mr. Singh said the council’s proposal was to protect native flora and fauna, while allowing the public access to certain areas of the reserve forests for recreation. The exact location of the project would be chosen with much care, ensuring that no tree
felling was required, he said.
He said it was better if the Forest Department ran the proposed eco-tourism project funded by the Tourism Department. He had already moved the proposal to the Government.
SOURCE : The Hindu, Tuesday, January 30, 2007
January 30, 2007
January 29, 2007
Mollem National Park: The core zone of Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary ( GOA) comprising an area of 107 sq. km. was notified as a National Park during 1978.
The forest range officer at Mollem, Amar Heblekar,decided to turn a motley band of high-school dropout tour operators into wildlife experts and here is his success story.
With permission and funds from the Goa Forest Department, Heblekar arranged a workshop. He was aware youngsters of the area had already been identified as troublemakers. The Doodhsagar Tour Operators Union (DTOU), as the guides called themselves, monopolised
the business, charged unreasonable rates and were also accused of threatening tourists.
Heblekar went around meeting the senior members of the DTOU, and passed out invitations for the nature interpretation workshop.
Earlier, the Goa Forest Department, on Heblekar’s suggestion, had registered the operators as official tour guides for an annual fee of Rs 5,000 to ensure their activities would remain under its watchful eyes. "Most of the participants came to us unsure about
what they would get from the day-long workshop," says Heblekar.
Heblekar was convinced the guides were ideal for spreading awareness about wildlife conservation. "They work in the field and if they knew about the rich flora and fauna of Mollem, they would be able to help tourists appreciate the environment a lot better.
In the process, they would automatically become wildlife enthusiasts and conservators," he says.
"We discovered a wonderful new world around us," says an enthusiastic Khandeparker. A tour guide for over three years, 22-year-old Khandeparker was one of those who attended the first workshop. From a novice, Khandeparker developed his new-found expertise
to rattle off the difference between a Giant Wood Spider and a Funnel Spider as well as little-known facts about termites and their importance.
Originally envisaged for 40 participants, the first workshop had 65 applications. On the next one, 46 were picking up basics on wildlife conservation and eco-tourism. Heblekar also arranged for an initial donation of 30 books from the forest department for
a fledgling wildlife library for the enthusiastic tour operators.
Contact Mollem National Park, Goa. Tel: 0832-2612211
October 20, 2006
A workshop on `Rising stakes of local community in conservation of forests and wildlife: Institutionalisation of eco-tourism involving local communities' was organised by the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and sponsored
by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests at the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady.
Senior IFS officers noted that though a few States had come out with their own policies on eco-tourism, a national level policy was necessary to address the ecological needs of the forest and environment, create people's involvement giving due regard to
their ethnicity and culture so that they feel involved, promoted and empowered. Such a policy would ensure that eco tourism programmes were not hijacked by vested interests.
The forests of the country were burdened with biotic pressure coming from the traditional dependency of the local communities. The traditional type of forest management deprived the local people of any significant stake and role in the protection of the
forests. Eco tourism, being a non-consumptive use of the forests, was emerging as an important alternative to strengthen the stakes of local communities for the protection of forests and wildlife.
The officers wanted eco tourism programmes to find a place in forest management and working plan provisions. The thumb rules for an eco tourism programme should be minimum investment on infrastructure, maximum benefit to the local communities, a link between
the programme and the local communities and respect to local culture and traditions.
It was recommended that in ecologically sensitive areas, the principle of high value, high adventure and low volume tourism should be followed.Local communities should have a major role in the implementation of any eco-tourism project. Draft recommendations
for a national policy for the implementation of eco-tourism programmes in forest, wildlife and other natural eco-system areas in the country were adopted
September 05, 2006
Expedia.com®, became the first online travel agency to offer travelers the ability to purchase carbon offsets -- carbon dioxide reduction measures used to help cancel out the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming.
Expedia® is offering the service through TerraPass, the leading
retailer of greenhouse gas reduction projects in the U.S.
"Expedia is dedicated to promoting responsible tourism, and we're
proud to extend environmentally conscious options to our travelers,"
said Steven McArthur, President, Expedia® North America Leisure
Travel Group. "We are committed to making a positive impact on
travel and tourism through industry advocacy, destination support
and the promotion of responsible tourism. Offering TerraPass carbon
offsets is just one way we invite our customers to join us in this
Airline travel currently accounts for about 13 percent of U.S.-
transportation-based emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary
greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. To help address this,
Expedia is partnering with TerraPass to make it simple for
environmentally conscious travelers to be carbon-balanced travelers
by purchasing a TerraPass from Expedia as part of their trip.
Expedia travelers can now pay a small fee to sponsor a measured,
verified reduction in greenhouse gas emissions directly proportional
to the emissions created by their plane flight. TerraPass funds
domestic clean energy projects, such as wind farms, innovative "cow
power" methane capture plants on American dairies, and the
retirement of carbon offsets on the Chicago Climate Exchange.
One year ago Expedia formed the World Heritage Alliance in partnership with the United Nations Foundation to support sustainable tourism to World Heritage sites.
Expedia.com travelers can choose from three levels of TerraPass to
purchase during the process of booking a flight or package, or as a
standalone component on Expedia's Activities page (
http://www.expedia.com/activities ). Prior to checkout, Expedia
customers will be offered a chance to purchase a TerraPass that
funds enough clean energy to balance out the CO2 emissions caused by
For example, a typical flight from New York to Los Angeles creates
about 2,000 lbs. per passenger of carbon dioxide (CO2), the
principal greenhouse gas. Pricing starts at $5.99 to offset about
1,000 lbs of CO2, the approximate amount per passenger emitted by a
2,200 mile round-trip flight. A TerraPass to cover cross-country and
international flights is $16.99 for up to 6,500 flight miles, and
$29.99 for up to 13,000 flight miles. Travelers who purchase a
TerraPass for cross-country or international flights will receive a
luggage tag that indicates their contribution to green travel.
Travelers who purchase a TerraPass for short-haul flights will
receive a decal.
Expedia is offering TerraPass to its customers at cost, so all
proceeds will go towards TerraPass' greenhouse gas reduction
efforts. For more
information, visit http://www.expedia.com/activities
August 22, 2006
The "Outlook" Magazine conducted a survey of a carefully selected sample of 150 people each in the cities of New York, London and Bejing. To the question
'Do the wildlife and natural beauty of India interest you'
affirmative answers were received from
71% New Yorkers
83% Londoners and
68% Bejing residents.
This once again proves that our natural resources are like the goose which lays golden eggs. Exploiting natural resources for short term gains could kill the goose!!
July 02, 2006
It seems that travel related activities account for about 1/3 of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. In many cases one round trip flight emits more carbon than your automobile does in a year!
Eliminating the damage we do to the planet through travel related activities would be a huge victory in the battle against global warming. To this end, "Natural Habitat Adventures" have announced an innovative new partnership with MyClimate™, a non-profit
organization dedicated to fighting global warming through the support of alternative energy projects around the world.
The benefits of this new partnership are simple: When you travel with Natural Habitat Adventures you can actually neutralize the impact of harmful greenhouse gasses that were emitted as a result of your trip.
Here’s how it works. MyClimate™ calculates the emissions from your flight and your Natural Habitat Adventures expedition (primarily from other forms of transportation on your trip). These emissions can be neutralized through the purchase of a MyClimate™
ticket, typically only $10-$50. The MyClimate™ ticket represents an amount of carbon “offsets” purchased from climate friendly projects around the world. The money goes to a local community or businesses in a developing country to help fund more environmentally
friendly development options.
For example: let’s say that your flight emits 1.4 tons of CO2, and your MyClimate™ ticket costs $20 (you only pay $10 and Natural Habitat Adventures pays $10). Through MyClimate™ that $20 might be invested in solar ovens in Africa, which will reduce the
need to import diesel fuel that would emit the equivalent amount of carbon emissions as your flight.
May 23, 2006
May 02, 2006
heels on fire
Ever thought what it would be like to run over 600 km in a month through the Indian state of Kerala that the National Geographic describes as one of the ten paradises on earth?
The chronicles of an insane plan and the adventures of Peter Dulvy - a runner, Desmond Roberts - a photographer and Rahul Noble Singh - a writer. They are giving themselves 30 days to complete the route. Peter on his feet and the others capturing the adventure
and life along the way through images and words.