Ecotourism is an environmentally-friendly way of promoting tourist activities in the country. As the world battles climate change and damage to natural beauty, there is a need for promoting environmental-friendly policies that maintain the sanctity of indigenous lands and livelihoods. In this blog we will look at the many ways ecotourism policies can be implemented in a country, and how Pakistan can do the same to ensure sustainable tourism in the country.
All About Ecotourism Policies
Ecotourism is a way of boosting employment opportunities and uplifting livelihoods, while at the same time ensuring that no amount of human activity causes habitat loss, pristine lands are unadulterated, and wildlife isn’t disturbed. In most regions, tourism is attracted towards indigenous lands and people and is a way for outsiders to experience the way of life here,
However, despite this, there is an emphasis on extracting the full potential of the tourism sector, the world over. This is because as global tourism has increased, it has been realized that a larger number of people can benefit from the tourism sector; by setting up local businesses, especially in the hospitality sector, local cuisines, artifacts, cultural industry, etc.
Let’s see how ecotourism policies can be introduced in each of these facets of the tourism industry.
Ecotourism For Hospitality Sector
As people travel, the demand for hotels and motels significantly increases. In order to satiate this demand, locals build up hotels; sometimes not taking into consideration how it might affect the natural biodiversity. Without any regulatory body to carry out feasibility studies, encroachments also appear in most cases.
These encroachments can be made on indigenous land, natural preserves such as wetlands, or in the way of natural streams which adversely affects the environment. These practices are, therefore, wrong and prove to be detrimental for the environment. In order to make real estate activity here sustainable, there is a need to carry out environmental studies of the region and divide each place in terms of zones to mark whether or not construction activities can take place. The regulatory body should ensure full compliance of these provisions so there are no breaches to the law. Moreover, each hotel, motel, or guest house, should be required to submit a detailed proposal of how it would dispose of garbage, accommodate increased cars for parking, and how it would utilize the open spaces for recreational activities.
Ecotourism For Cultural Industry
The cultural industry of a region is quintessential of that place and therefore has to be developed in a way that it thrives. In most regions around the world, tourism activities damage the region’s culture and societal norms. In this regard, there should be efforts made to keep the cultural values of the region intact, while at the same time experiencing these different and vibrant cultures up close.
Another important factor of the cultural industry is the artifacts and local cuisines, which in most cases are acquired tastes. In order to create a greater demand for these cultural services, the local governments can launch awareness campaigns, commission vloggers to produce digital content about the dos and don’ts of exploring the region’s culture.
In addition to this, tourists and even locals should be fined for any improper actions, such as painting on mountains/highways/trees, cutting down trees, hunting animals, littering, disturbing animals and people.
These are two broad measures through which ecotourism can be promoted anywhere. Let’s now take a look at how the government of Pakistan is working to ensure eco-tourism policies.
Ecotourism In Pakistan
Taking notice of environmental degradation and climate change, the incumbent government in Pakistan has introduced a number of initiatives to promote sustainable tourism in the country. While the country experiences a significant tourism push, there are a number of policy measures in place to ensure longevity in ecotourism policies.
These range from the anti-encroachment drive in the Kaghan Valley to halting the use of single-use plastic in Hunza. In addition to this, the incumbent government has also launched a country-wide One Billion Tree Tsunami Initiative, as well as plantation drives in all major provincial capitals. Moreover, the government is also all set to introduce initiatives to offset the effects of environmental degradation.
As hunting is a sport that’s not only enjoyed by the locals but also by international tourists as well, a comprehensive system of patents has been put in place to ensure that the population of the animals isn’t affected in any way. Through this system of patents, locals are employed by and the wage for their services is also fixed. Thus, in this way hunting activities are also regulated, while at the same time employing locals.
Each year, the number of tourists visiting Pakistan’s northern areas increases significantly. In order to make this industry sustainable and expand its base, there is a need for continuous innovation in terms of reforms. As these are introduced, we will keep updating you with the latest information.