By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 19 Jun: The Third Edition of VoW Policy Dialogue was organised at VoW Cafe on Sahastradhara Road, here. The theme of the dialogue was ‘Responsible Tourism in Uttarakhand’. The speakers involved in the policy dialogue emphasised the need for responsible tourism through various ideas and examples. Along with this, issues like carrying capacity, sustainable development education, culture, environment, waste management and migration were also discussed.
Sanjeev Chopra, Director of the Valley of the Words Festival and former Director of the IAS Academy, said, “When we talk about tourism, we have to talk about our culture as well. Tourism is a great medium for the promotion of culture. Through this we can take our traditions, our food and our products to other communities. For this, all the stakeholders related to tourism will have to take responsibility and work on responsible tourism.”
Citing the example of Bhutan and other countries, he advocated different models of responsible tourism.
Kiran Bhatt Todaria, Managing Director, Indo Ganga Holidays, and an avid practitioner of adventure tourism, spoke about the development of rafting and tourism activities in Rishikesh during the last 30-35 years. She said that the state may have benefited economically through tourism, but for this the environment and culture had been put at stake. She talked about making all the operators of the region sensitive towards the environment and culture. Kiran Bhatt also talked about starting rafting activities on other rivers of the state.
Dr Jagdeep Khanna, Principal, Institute of Hotel Management, Dehradun, said that there is a need to bring more clarity to the home stay policy of the state. Along with the promotion of culture and food through tourism, he stressed on the need to utilise the immense potential of tourism in Tehri Lake. He said, “If we want to move towards responsible tourism, then we have to focus on carrying capacity, study and pre-planning.”
Hemant Kochar, Chair, Uttarakhand Chapter, PHD Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the 12 different models of tourism and advocated the need for further research within these models. He pointed out, “We have to do research on what kind of tourists are coming to Uttarakhand, what they are giving us and what are they taking from here.” He said that due to lack of control over the tourists, many tourists in the state tend to exhibit unruly behaviour. He also talked about diversifying tourism and developing new tourist sites. He also emphasised the need to implement the bin bags to bags policy in all vehicles. He further said that there is a need to provide training to the people associated with the tourism business in the state on sustainable tourism and SDG Goals.
While conducting the programme, Anoop Nautiyal of SDC Foundation, provided information on various aspects of sustainable tourism present in the report on Indian Himalayan Region, released by the NITI Aayog in 2018. Along with this, he referred to the Sustainable Tourism Criteria of the Union Ministry of Tourism, Eco Tourism Policy of October 2021 of the Ministry of Environment and Uttarakhand Tourism Draft Policy 2020. Through statistics, he provided information about the responsible model of tourism on the basis of the number of pilgrims who came to the Chardham Yatra as well as the Purnagiri fair, Kainchidham fair and Ganga Dussehra fair that were completed this month.
HUDCO Regional Manager Sanjay Bhargava, Paramjit Singh Kakkar of Pramukh Sanstha, Vishal Kala of PHD Chamber of Commerce, Robin Nagar of Valley Culture, Shikha Prakash among others were present on the occasion.