BEYOND REGIONAL BARRIERS
- a study on the growth of ecotourism in the Karnataka State and the Balanced Growth Model


By
Dr. Padma Srinivasan
Head-HR & Company Secretary
Sindhu Cargo Services Ltd.
Bangalore
E-mail :
padma@sindhucargo.com
 


Key Words: Eco tourism, Karnataka Ecotourism, Balanced Growth MODEL

INTRODUCTION:

Karnataka is a State endowed with the best of natural resources. It is rich with tea estates all over a district, gold deposits in another, ghat sector on a side, seacoast on a side. It has the ancient temples of Belur-Halayabeedu and the Silicon Valley in Bangalore. It has been blessed with the best climate and versatile people strength of varied culture living harmoniously. Every IT-related activity originates in or relates to Karnataka.

One another feather in her cap is the Eco tourism happening in the State. In addition, Karnataka boasts of a 320km unspoilt coastline as well as several breathtaking hill stations that are ideal for ecotourism projects. For adventure lovers, Karnataka offers white-water rafting possibilities, not possible elsewhere in India, other than in the Himalayan region. Colorful art forms, indigenous crafts and a rich cultural legacy add further sheen to Karnataka's diverse tourism potential. Ecotels, a new concept in hospitality that claims to work for environment protection and preservation, are also increasingly being opened. They preserve the eco system, recycle things, ask customers to reuse towels etc. All eco certified hotels in Karnataka need to pass a detailed inspection and satisfy stringent criteria designed by environmental experts.

World trade witnessed a tremendous growth with many countries liberalizing their policies and globalization topping their list of priorities. With the rapid growth of telecommunications worldwide and the ease of international air travel, tourism and related service providers have spotted an opportunity in the global delivery of a wide array of services. So there has been a thrust to improve tourism leveraging on the eco advantage. In this paper, the author has focussed on the Ecotourism as a competitive advantage available for enhancing Karnataka's growth and excelling the other Southern states in promotion and regional economic growth.

NEED AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:

To optimally leverage on the ecological advantages of the State, preservation of the ecological balance and growth of the State Economy, an exploring study was made by the researcher. The immense potential to maximize the value of 'KARNATAKA BRAND' made the study interesting and even the officials at KSTDC voiced their interests on the research findings of the study. The main objective is to develop the infrastructure and system needed for the proper growth of ecotourism and eco balancing in the State.

HYPOTHESIS:

The hypotheses set for the research study included the following 3 questions
1. There is a proper system and framework for growth of Karnataka Ecotourism
2. The Karnataka State Government plays a significant role for the promotion.
3. The multi party initiatives are paying rich dividends to the tourism Entrepreneurship.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY:

Today, many countries have made significant advances in the field of ecotourism by creating enabling policy environment, capacity building, marketing ecotourism projects, and supporting research on impact of tourism. Following these international initiatives the Department of Tourism, Govt. of India issued Tourism Policy & Guidelines in July 1998. The policy lays down the objectives for ecotourism and contains operational guidelines for major stakeholders. The researcher visited all the districts of the State and noted the ecotourism efforts taking place in those places. She also visited KSTDC office and researched on the promo offers and state efforts.

FINDINGS:

* Ecotourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the tourism industry at present in the State.
* There is a proper system and framework for growth of Karnataka Ecotourism. It has attracted increasing attention in recent years, not only as an alternative to mass tourism, but also as a means of economic development and environmental conservation.
* The Karnataka State Government plays a significant role for the promotion.
* The multi party initiatives are paying rich dividends to the tourism Entrepreneurship.
* The tour operators, promoters, tourism departments officials, hoteliers and NGOs play a significant role and are the catalysts of growing ecotourism.
* 'A better understanding of ecotourism policy, regulation, marketing and promotion and monitoring the costs and benefits of ecotourism' is the need of the hour to benefit of the ecotourism plans.
* All elements essential to make ecotourism a successful long-term proposition should be scrutinized cautiously by all involved parties.

Suggestions and Strategic Implications for the Eco-Tourism Industry (Ecotel & Ecotourism) 

* The success of a development program depends much more on its private sector participants' prosperity than on the management skill or technical support of planning and regulatory agencies. It is most important for these agencies to foster high productivity from its development partners i.e. mutually they enrich business.

* Build on established strengths. Assist operators in developing revenue enhancement programs for existing facilities.

Conclusions:

Tourism has emerged as the largest industry in the world with annual revenue of almost $500 billion. Karnataka has successfully derived strengths in ecotourism according to Mr.Vaibhav Kamat from the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation who detailed the measures undertaken by Jungle Lodges & Resorts (JLR) who have been spearheading ecotourism in the state in a recent workshop.

So Ecotourismů A great way to greet tomorrow!
 


Dr. Padma Srinivasan
Head-HR & Company Secretary
Sindhu Cargo Services Ltd.
Bangalore
E-mail :
padma@sindhucargo.com
 

Source : E-mail December 15, 2004

 
 

 

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