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BW Businessworld

Sustainable Tourism And Its Impact

The idea behind sustainable tourism is for the tourists to make a positive impact on the destination in terms of employment opportunities and economic growth, without causing any further abuse on the environment and ecology

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The ongoing detriments, brought in by human developments, are eventually reaching the right minds. A lot of people find the word “sustainable” to be synonymous with “eco-friendly.” The first impression that comes to our mind is the geothermal-powered hotels, conservation efforts and companies concerned with their carbon footprints. While all of this is true, being environmentally conscious is a big part of being sustainable. But this is not the only thing to consider. An attraction or destination can be as “green” as green can be, and still not be sustainable.

Tourism has to be sustainable in three dimensions: environmental, economic and socio-cultural. While people may feel ecstatic before embarking for an adventurous holiday, very few of them understand the physical impact of tourism. The locals may begin to experience an increased congestion in their cities. In furtherance of that, the development of tourism facilities such as accommodation, water supplies, restaurants and recreation facilities can involve sand mining, beach and sand dune erosion, soil erosion and extensive paving. Perhaps even the “full moon” parties and rock concerts are causing damage to the coastal
environment.

The question arises: How important is “sustainable tourism” today? It is becoming one of the most important aspects in India, where a number of our tourist destinations are just beginning to see a rise in eco-tourism. The local communities are beginning to realise the vast benefits that it can bring. The idea behind sustainable tourism is for the tourists to make a positive impact on the destination in terms of employment opportunities and economic growth, without causing any further abuse on the environment and ecology. My wife and I attended the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s (EO) Buenos Aires University (EO calls their global learning events “Universities” because they offer considerable educational value) in 2013, where we visited the Perito Moreno Glacier. This is the only glacier in the world that is actually growing. The whole region, including the airport city of El Calafate, is part of an Argentine Sustainable Tourism master plan.

Perito Moreno, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, is a wonderful example of how a destination can be responsibly developed.

During a regional EO event in Nepal, I learnt about the Three Sisters Trekking Company, which trains women from the mountainous region of West Nepal to become trekking guides, thereby making this a classic social enterprise, which helps the local community, and at the same time, promotes tourism. I am now working closely with the local chamber of commerce in Bangalore, and with representatives of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, to build a programme to educate stakeholders in my state about the long-term benefits of sustainable tourism.

Shravan Gupta is the Managing Director of Travel Tours Group. He has more than 15 years of high-quality and diverse experience in the travel and tourism industry. With an MBA in marketing from Vanderbilt University, and as an active member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Bangalore Chapter, Gupta is a firm believer in “Make a Mark” and “Boldy Go”, two core values of EO. With expansion plans underway, which is estimated to produce Rs 3,000 crore turnover, Gupta has been the driving force behind the growth of his company.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Shravan Gupta

Shravan Gupta is the Managing Director, Travel Tours Group. He has over 15 years of high quality and diverse experience in travel and tourism industry. An MBA in Marketing from Vanderbilt University and an active member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), Gupta is a firm believer in ‘Make a Mark – Leave a Legacy’, one of the core values of EO. With expansion plans underway, estimated to produce 3,000 crore turnover, he has been the driving force behind the growth of his company.

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