Environment

Link tourism to biodiversity, suggest experts

HARIDWAR: A three-day international conference cum workshop on ‘sustainable entrepreneurship development practices in tourism and hospitality sector in the Himalayan states’ was inaugurated in Rishikesh on Friday.

Sponsored by the Union ministry of tourism, the event is being held under the aegis of the HNB Garhwal University’s centre for mountain tourism and hospitality studies, from April 28 to 30, reports The Times of India.

On day one, drawing attention to Uttarakhand’s rich biodiversity, speakers at the seminar stressed the need for linking tourism to biodiversity to make it sustainable.

“There are over 380 prime cultivars (wild species of plants) in the state, 520 species of butterflies, beautiful mountain peaks, fascinating forests at high altitudes and alpine meadows called bugyals which make the Himalayan region a vast storehouse of beauty. Foreigners and Indian tourists should be shown these sights instead of being taken to Mussoorie, Nainital or other places,” said professor Ajay Rawat, a noted forest historian.

He suggested creation of tourist circuits after Shankaracharya, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi.

S C Bagri, professor at the centre for mountain tourism and hospitality studies, said new segments on the pattern of Kerala, Sri Lanka and Morocco should be added to the three traditional segments of tourism, namely, eatery, accommodation and automobile.

Cooperatives should cover areas including organic farming, floriculture, horticulture, handicraft and herbal products. Kurukshetra University professor Manjula Chaudhary said that sustainable livelihood is possible through tourism.

Chairperson of the inaugural session, M P Jain, chancellor of IMS Unison University, Dehradun, also stressed upon the need to develop sustainable tourism, saying that 2017 has been declared as the international year of sustainable tourism.

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