Tejbir Singh Anand dons many a hat in the tourism industry, as VP, ATOAI; Founder & MD, Holiday Moods Adventures; Founding Member, FAITH and as an adventure travel strategic advisor. In this article authored by him, he talks about responsible and sustainable tourism in the ‘new’ world and where adventure travel stands.
It is well said that every dark cloud has a silver lining and we should never waste a good crisis. Responsible tourism has come as a blessing in disguise, as travellers will certainly show interest in responsible, conscious and transformative ways of travel. Companies that talk about and can show that they are practising offsetting of the carbon footprint; waste minimisation; increasing their conservation and efficiency efforts; promoting local recruitment, hence empowering regional economies involving communities and benefiting them, will become popular and sought after. Mass tourism will be replaced by responsible tourism.
Why green is in
Revived nature is an attraction now. The clean, potable water of River Ganga in Haridwar; the bright blue sky and stars at night; view of Dhauladhar Himalayas from Jalandhar, Uttarakhand Himalayas from Saharanpur and Nepal Himalayas from Bihar; rhinos and elephants walking freely in the buffer zone roads in Northeast, all these are great inspirations for a traveller and mankind. Corporate clients are avoiding high-end cars as they feel they are not needed anymore. Schools are now clear that only camps and treks to remote areas will be promoted. These are the radical and sustainable changes that are happening everywhere. People are already talking about less being more.
Now is the time to adopt safety guidelines industry-wide, and be ready and empowered for when clients arrive. Your clients will need to be educated about guidelines pertaining to air travel, accommodation and all activity-related measures being put in place. There must be a clear line of communication set for all on how to live, travel and sustain oneself responsibly. There will be demand for destinations that are least affected, like the Himalayan states, Northeast India, Western Ghats and all national parks. I think that people will prefer self-driving road trips. From mid-July, the lesser-known regions of Spiti, Kinnaur, Ladakh and Kashmir can start, hopefully. From mid-September,
Kumaon and Garhwal, Sikkim and the Northeast can be taken on.
Recover through sustainability
If we are talking about the recovery of the farthest flung regions of this country, then this is the only segment of the industry that will act as a stepping ladder for reviving the economy. At present, only 15 states and three UTs have declared tourism as an ‘industry’, and I really wish that tourism is given that status at the Centre.
(Views expressed are the author’s own. The publication may or may not subscribe to the same.)