Ministry of Tourism, in partnership with the United Environment Program (UNEP) and Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI) organized a national summit on developing sustainable and responsible tourist destinations on Saturday in New Delhi. On this occasion, the Ministry of Tourism launched the national strategy for sustainable tourism and the responsible traveler campaign, the Ministry of Tourism red in a statement.
The strategy document has identified the strategic pillars for the development of sustainable tourism like promoting environmental sustainability, protecting biodiversity, promoting economic sustainability, promoting socio-cultural sustainability, scheme for certification of sustainable tourism, IEC, and capacity building and governance.
Speaking on the occasion Secretary Tourism Arvind Singh said that tourism and the environment share a special relationship.
“Their interaction with each other is a two-way process. On the one hand, environmental resources constitute one of the basic ingredients of tourism,” he said.
The natural and manmade setting form the tourism products which the tourist enjoys lives, and relaxes. On the other hand, the close and direct relationship between visitors, host communities, and the local environment creates a sensitive situation, whereby tourism can be both very damaging and also very positive for sustainable development.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further forced the tourism sector to shift its focus to resiliency, sustainability, and interconnectedness among diverse stakeholders in the sector, the minister said.
Singh further said that “We need to make use of cleaner fuels. The Prime Minister has also announced that India will increase its capacity of non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW and meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements through renewable energy by 2030.”
“State tourism policies should recognize sustainability principles and the Sustainable Development Goals in their vision and strategic direction for tourism. With the vision to create a sustainable future for tourism, the Ministry of Tourism has also taken various steps in this direction,” he added.
Singh said that the Ministry of Tourism with the objective to provide experience to the tourists launched the ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’ and has till now sanctioned 76 Projects.With the learnings of this scheme, “we have now revamped the Swadesh Darshan Scheme as Swadesh Darshan 2.0,” he said.
The idea of Swadesh Darshan 2.0 is to undertake holistic development with the vision to develop Sustainable and Responsible Tourist Destinations.
“While formulating the guidelines for SD 2.0 we have kept various elements in mind in order to undertake destination development in a sustainable and responsible manner. Through the Swadesh Darshan, 2.0 sustainable and responsible tourism practices will be implemented in various projects and initiatives,” he added.
The Scheme will encourage the adoption of principles of sustainable tourism including environmental, socio-cultural, and economic sustainability, the ministry said.