What is Eco-Tourism?
Eco-Tourism is the environmentally friendly and responsible approach to tourism. It involves having tourists visit sites in a country or place while focusing on environmental conservation, supporting local economies and minimizing the negative impacts of tourism.
This is beneficial to preserve wildlife and conservation of those areas which are threatened and/or degraded.
Also read: Domestic Tourism in Pakistan – Positive and Negative Impacts
Potential and Benefits of Eco-tourism in Pakistan:
Pakistan being a developing country, whose economy can greatly benefit from a boost from revenue generated through tourism.
In the pre-pandemic time around 2020, many areas particularly the northern ones saw a great influx of tourists which benefited the local economy greatly. Pakistan has huge potential for generating eco-tourism due to the diverse cultures and heritage present in the region from different ethnic groups and indigenous people.
For instance, developing means and unique ways of portraying and promoting their cultures and traditions to the tourists. Some examples include the Kalash Valley- instead of providing visits to regular sites; the government should be investing in some form of modifications to those places in a way that can allow people to experience the culture of those people. This will not only be an immersive experience but also be a more eco-friendly option that would not lead to extra pollution or waste. Museums or heritage sites etc. where people can buy and sell local art, clothes, toys or even unique jewelery.
Also check out: Environmental Impacts of Growing Tourism Industry of Pakistan
Besides this, the folklore and lifestyle of regions like Chitral and Hunza just for an example, is so rich that it can be effectively used as a marketing tool to attract more tourists. The only thing interfering with this is the lack of appreciation, care and investment in these regions and their people to bring their culture, folklore and traditions to the forefront. Tourists can enjoy a detailed and immersive atmosphere and learn about how heterogenous Pakistani culture actually is than what is typically portrayed and known as.
However, it is unfortunate even Pakistanis themselves are not aware about the actual diversity in different culture, traditions and lifestyles that exist in one region.
The potential of eco-tourism lies in many aspects- in the form of cultural tourism, agro-tourism, community development exercises and even eco-lodging. Pakistan is no exception and we can utilise and inculcate these aspects to improve our tourism industry. Pakistan is no exception and if tourism industry is to be improved, we can take eco-tourism into consideration.
Importance of Eco-tourism in Pakistan:
As Pakistan faces chronic wealth inequality and class disparity, tourism will definitely be a great boost for the local economies of those neglected regions and helped improve the living conditions of people there. This was evident in 2020 before COVID-19 where locals had a steady means of income and were able to improve their lifestyles relying on tourism trade alone.
It will allow community development by creating more job opportunities and strengthening their sources of income.
The post-pandemic era saw a great deal of hardship for the tourism industry in particular that was just starting to flourish. The revenue tourism was generating plummeted severely and has not been recovered yet. Moreover, the various families whose sole income source was through trading with tourists or on natural sight seeing sites was chronically hampered leaving them without any secure means on income.
Thus, it is imperative that this industry be paid attention to and help it in its recovery. Additionally, the importance of tourism and eco-tourism in particular can be deduced from the fact that it will allow more exposure, a positive international image, better local economy and improved living conditions with no additional cost to the government. It is the best sort of investment that the government can opt for to reap long term benefits.
There are various means of achieving sustainable development of local areas using eco tourism and it can only be put in to motion by the government. Most of the time these include local farmers market tours, cultural centers and the like that basically promote the local culture. Pakistan is a country that can also adopt these methods to improve the tourism revenue.
You may want to check out, Digitalizing Tourism Industry in Pakistan – Trends, Challenges and Recommendations
We hope you liked this post! Please comment below if you have any suggestions, comments or feedback! We at #envpk love hearing from readers! Thanks