Ecotourism as a Tool for Sustainable Development in Morni Hills (Haryana), India

Ecotourism as a Tool for Sustainable Development in Morni Hills (Haryana), India

Lakhvinder Singh (Government College, Kaithal, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5691-7.ch006
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Abstract

Ecotourism is an emerging approach to attain sustainable development. The Morn Hills region of Haryana in India is emerging as a famous ecotourism destination, as it is endowed with rich and varied vegetation, flora and fauna, and forest area. The chapter empirically investigates the local community attitude towards ecotourism as a mean for sustainable development. The chapter used 200 data responses conveniently collected from respondents through a survey form and used suitable statistical tools to analyse the result. The study indicates huge prospects of ecotourism in the area and variation in the attitude of the local community towards the role of ecotourism in sustainable development. A highly positive attitude of locals as ecotourism brings sustainable and overall development in the area in the form of enhanced economic benefits, enrichment of socio-cultural values, increased concerns, and preservation of environmental and physical resources. The chapter concludes different stakeholders to come up with appropriate strategies for sustainable development of the area.
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Introduction

Tourism is the emerging sector in the global marketplace, and ecotourism plays a crucial role in the development of tourism (Fennell & Dowling, 2003). Ecotourism is majorly based on natural tourist resources of the destination and involves a visit to uninterrupted natural areas with an aim to learn about the unique experience of local communities by providing environmental, economic and socio-cultural paybacks to local people of the destination without causing any negative impact (Lai & Nepal, 2005; Gheorge, 2013). It is also further elaborated that in addition to less impact on the natural environment of destination, ecotourism involves local people in tourism to extends its benefits among locals to a large extent and enhance the tourist experience.

Ecotourism is a sub-component of the field of sustainable tourism. Ecotourism’s perceived potential as an effective tool for sustainable development is the main reason why developing countries are now embracing it and including it in their economic development and conservation strategies. Ecotourism, as alternative tourism, involves visiting natural areas in order to learn, to study, or to carry out activities environmentally friendly, that is, tourism based on the nature experience, which enables the economic and social development of the local community (Zhong, & Liu, 2017).

The characteristics of ecotourism suitably fit into the sustainable mechanism as it helps to bring overall development of the area including all aspects of development, such as the welfare of locals, promote local business firms, increase membership of locals in tourism planning and management, providing entrepreneurial prospects and facilitate the education and training to local communities (Theingthae, 2017). Hence, a number of emerging tourist destinations is considering this form of tourism as a major segment of their tourism market and placed a lot of emphases to tap its natural resources, improve the social and economic conditions of the residents of the tourist places.

Some studies supposed that although ecotourism helps to achieve sustainable development, it also contributed towards the degradation of the environment to a extend due to poor management of ecotourism activities (Li, 2004). Ecotourism helps in community development by providing the alternate source of livelihood to the local community, which is more sustainable. Its aim is to conserve resources, especially biological diversity, and maintain sustainable use of resources, which can bring ecological experience to travellers, conserve the ecological environment, and gain economic benefit (Bashar, 2018). However, achieving the aims in ecotourism depends on whether they are environmentally and ecologically sustainable and economically applicable. In order for ecotourism to encourage patterns of sustainability, which can benefit local communities, protect the environment, and be economically viable, it must be comprehensive and account for the complexity of issues that have been mentioned in this chapter. Therefore, it is essential to carefully evaluate the dimensions that make ecotourism a sustainable development tool. The sustainable development approach also contributed towards the major global agenda (MDG) focuses on maintaining eco-balances in developmental work (Chandel & Mishra, 2016). Hence the present chapter considered this fact and aimed to study the attitude of locals towards the role of ecotourism in the sustainable development of Morni hills region in Haryana.

Morni Hills is a hill resort in the Panchkula District of Haryana. This hill is an offshoot of the Shivalik mountain ranges of the Himalayas. Morni derived its name from that of a queen who ruled the city. The village is on the mountainside at an altitude of 12,20 metres overlooking the panoramic view of the Himalayas. There are two lakes and the river Ghaggar meanders through the mountain ranges. These lakes seem to be interlinked since the level of water remains identical in both the lakes, though they are separated by a mountain. These lakes are considered sacred by the local populace.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Infrastructure: Construction needed to support economic development.

Sustainable Tourism: Sustainable Tourism leading to management of all resources in such a way those economic, social, and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems.

Tourism Stakeholders: Individuals who have a vested interest in development, including community members; NGOs; planning, and government officials; hotel owners, tour operators, guides, transportation providers, and representatives from other related services in the private sector.

Ecotourism: Responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and sustains the livelihood of local people.

Carrying Capacity: The amount of visitor activity that a site or destination can sustain.

Attraction: A place, event, building or area which tourists want to visit.

Sustainable Development: Development that meets the needs and aspirations of the current generation without compromising the ability to meet those of future generations.

Tourism Impacts: Effects, which may be felt because of tourism-associated activity.

Community: The group of people meets each other because they live nearby, not because they particularly want to be together. In a community, the members often have shared values and symbols.

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