Sustainable Development and Ecotourism Consciousness: An Empirical Analysis for Kallakurichi, Tamil Nadu, India

Sustainable Development and Ecotourism Consciousness: An Empirical Analysis for Kallakurichi, Tamil Nadu, India

Abhijit Pandit (Amity University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8494-0.ch006

Abstract

This chapter focuses on how people of Kallakurichi, Tamil Nadu, India can become conscious of ecotourism, bio-cultural diversity, and sustainable development, vital for both present and future. It utilized a sustainable development framework for considering biological and cultural perspectives. The primary target audience of this research was 100 local people of this lesser known and sparsely populated area, and 31 questionnaires were found to be useful. Simple random sampling was used in this regard. The collected data were analyzed using mean, t-test, Pearson's product moment correlation, and regression analysis. The researcher concluded with findings that point to the need for shared community authority, management, and decision making; mutual benefits; recognition of the rights, values, norms, power structures, and dynamics of local populations; respect for belief systems as well as traditional and local ecological knowledge; and the importance of contextual adaptation.
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Purpose

This paper focuses on how people of Kallakurichi, Tamil Nadu, India can become conscious of ecotourism, bio-cultural diversity and sustainable development, which is vital for both present and future. It utilized a sustainable development framework for considering biological and cultural perspectives including human rights and social justice, the contribution of traditional knowledge, community involvement, and the effects of human impact and globalization.

Methods

The primary audience of this research was 31 local people of Kallakurichi selected by simple random sampling method. The researcher highlighted issues related to minimizing environmental impact, respecting local cultures, building environmental awareness, community participation, environment and ecosystem improvement facility, and providing direct financial benefits for conservation. Primary data were collected using a standardized questionnaire and were analyzed using mean, t-test, Pearson’s product moment correlation and regression analysis.

Findings

The researcher concluded with findings that point to the need for shared community authority, management, and decision making; mutual benefits; recognition of the rights, values, norms, power structures, and dynamics of local populations; respect for belief systems as well as traditional and local ecological knowledge; and the importance of contextual adaptation.

Implications

There is lot of opportunity for Government as well as local people of Kallakurichi in order to promote eco-tourism as well as facilitate sustainable development of community.

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Introduction

The framework for sustainable development describes society’s commitment to four interconnected objectives: economic development (including the end of extreme poverty), social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and good governance (including security). Each of these four dimensions of sustainable development contributes to the other three, and all four are therefore necessary for individual and societal wellbeing. Sustainable development is sometimes described by the first three dimensions: economic, social, and environmental. We add good governance and personal security as a fourth dimension to highlight several enabling conditions for sustainable development, including transparency, effective institutions, the rule of law, participation and personal security, accountability, and adequate financing for public goods. These standards of good governance apply to the public sector, the private sector, and civil society.

Sustainable development, as defined by The World Commission on Environment and Development’s (the Brundtland Commission) report is “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (1987, p. 16). The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) together with the World Tourism Organization (WTO) (2005, p. 9) further divide sustainability into three subsections: social, economic, and environmental, which are defined as follows:

  • Social sustainability means respecting human rights and equal opportunities for all in society. It requires an equitable distribution of benefits, with a focus on alleviating poverty. There is an emphasis on local communities, maintaining and strengthening their life support systems, recognizing and respecting different cultures, and avoiding any form of exploitation.

  • Economic sustainability means generating prosperity at different levels of society and addressing the cost-effectiveness of all economic activity. Crucially, it is about the viability of enterprises and activities and their ability to be maintained in the long term.

  • Environmental sustainability means conserving and managing resources, especially those that are not renewable or are precious in terms of life support. It requires action to minimize pollution of air, land and water, and to conserve biological diversity and natural heritage.

Figure 1.

Diagrammatic representation of sustainable development illustrating the environmental, social, and economic aspects and their overlaps

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