Promotion of Peace and Sustainability by Community Based Heritage Eco-Cultural Tourism in India

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent and growing need for local/regional/national/international peace and security. This may be broadly ascribed to the increasing conflicts arising out of social, economic, religious and political factors. Peace and sustainability, considered as the indicators of development are threatened due to a myriad of conflicts and they are more visible than ever before in India. Tourism considered as a Global Peace Industry has greater potentials to reduce these conflicts. This paper analyzes the threats to peace and sustainability and indicates that the newly emerging Heritage Eco-cultural Tourism holds the key for the promotion of peace and sustainability.

(Key words--Alternative tourism, Community based Tourism, conflicts, Eco-Tourism, Eco-cultural Tourism, Environmental quality, Externalities, Heritage Eco-cultural Tourism, Indicators, Mass tourism, peace, paradigm shifts, Sustainability, Sustainable Tourism, threats, Tourism policy).

1. INTRODUCTION

"Tourism is like a fire; you can cook your soup in it; but you can also burn down your house with it."

--Asian proverb

As we enter into the next millennium and the birth of a new global era, we are confronting the urgent need for local/regional/national/international peace and security more than in the past. This may be broadly ascribed to the increasing conflicts arising out of social, economic, religious and political factors. The widening gap between the haves and have-nots, have further accelerated these conflicts. Hence, we are seeking universal human rights and universal human progress and prosperity. One powerful indicator of such a development is the fact that more people are traveling from more countries than ever before, making travel and tourism the worlds largest industry. Its growth is expected to continue with globalization and as people everywhere seem determined to exercise their right to travel and to make their world a more familiar place in the spirit of peace and friendship. Tourism itself has always been a peace-based industry and may be considered as a Global Peace Industry (ref.www.iipt.org). In the face of current human population increases and worldwide ecological degradation, intact and healthy ecosystems are becoming the world's most sought-after tourism destinations. Culture and Heritage besides peace and harmony in such areas attract special groups of tourists, who demand quality products.

2. THREATS TO PEACE AND SUSTAINABILITY

Peace and sustainability, considered as the indicators of development are threatened due to a myriad of conflicts--Social, Economic, political, cultural and Environmental. These conflicts usually confront multiple and diverse stakeholders such as state institutions, religious organizations, communities, indigenous ethnic groups, local institutions, private development and non-government organizations, international organizations, and many other players.

Wide differences in culture, knowledge, power, influence, and resources characterize these groups. Even though most conflicts essentially develop in a local framework, they are also frequently connected at regional, national and even international levels, transcending political and geographical boundaries including non-represented interests (e.g. future generations). Such complexity explains, in part, the lack of sustained attention that conflicts receive. In addition, many conflicts in India are often dealt with unprofessionally and result in frustrations, violence, greater inequities, and negative impacts on quality of life, economic and social processes and in the natural resources themselves. The most common methods of intervention in conflicts tend to be centralized, hierarchical, and sectorial, with a predominantly technical and adversarial (judicial) and at times political. Seldom do they achieve a reasonable level of satisfaction for all interested parties. Hence, we are urgently in need of alternative paradigms for development--we are moving from the narrower 'reductionist', 'reactive' and 'bureaucratic' approaches to 'wholistic /Integrated or Systems' view of looking at issues, 'pro-active' policies and 'participatory' strategies. …