Indian Tourism – Bane Or Boon?

Ever since the tourism boom in India, local environmentalist groups are clamouring about the threat that a rapidly expanding tourist industry poses to the country’s heritage and environment.

The Bane

This begs the question, who is harming the country’s heritage and environment in reality, the locals or the tourists?

Is it the tourists who are pilfering the country’s heritage and making a mockery of environmental regulations? Or should we actually credit it to our own insensitive citizens and officials, who don’t give a hoot about the heritage or the environment – if it means they can make a few extra bucks!

Tourists move around, explore, shop, and then go back; they don’t poach, deforest, pollute the rivers, misuse the land, or flout the environmental regulations of the country – they actually have more entertaining things to do with their limited time in a foreign land!

Rarely, does a tourist deface a heritage structure, it’s usually the local majnoos graffiti ‘Raju loves Meena’ that is seen on the structures, and not ‘Jim loves Jenny’.

The Boon

Fact 1: Tourism is India’s largest industry; it brings in 15% of foreign exchange income; employs 9% of our population; significantly contributes to the GDP – as reported by several surveys – in short it’s a boon for India.

Fact 2: Tourism offers global exposure; fresh perspectives and new trade avenues.

Fact 3: Revolutionary tourism practices enforced by the World Travel & Tourism Council and other such institutions are promoting geo and eco tourism practices that inspire respect for other cultures and environmental diversities. All that is left for us to do is to ensure that we ourselves and our officials respect and follow these practices.

India – Incredible India

India is a land of many cultures and tourism has increased the appreciation and understanding of the cultural melting pot of: passions, colours and spices that make India unique. Tourism in fact, creates a bridge of tolerance and acceptance among varied: races, ethnicities, nationalities and faiths, which promotes peace and prosperity – and not the destruction of ecology.

As a great man once said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s life time.”

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