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RESOURCES: PAPERS & PRESENTATIONS
Is Ecotourism a Strategy for Regional Economic Development in India? The Case of Mussoorie and Asan Barrage
|Author :||Harald Pechlaner & Christopher Reuter|
|School/Work Place :||Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany|
The state of Uttarakhand (in the Himalayas) in which the two case studies were conducted is trying to expand its already existing strength in the tourism sector as well. Tourism is estimated to make up for about 20% of GDP in Uttarakhand in comparison to 5,83% for India and the ITOPC (Indian Tour Operators Promotion Council) gives a figure of 16,7 million domestic visitors for 2006 in a state with approx. 8,5 million inhabitants (ITOPC calculations are based on numbers provided by the state government).
In general, the Himalayas (which make up a big portion of the state of Uttarakhand) have been considered one of the emerging markets in Asia with the highest potential for growth, alongside Sri Lanka, Laos and Vietnam (Shackley, 2006: 66). In Uttarakhand the mountains themselves are the biggest attraction, providing the backdrop for Adventure Tourism (mainly trekking and rafting) and of course pilgrimage (e.g. Haridwar and Chard Dham or the four holy shrines) and Yoga (including Rishikesh the “Yoga capital of the world”).
However, Singh (2007) has named several main problems for the tourism industry in Uttarakhand: (1) the state has not been developed as a destination brand and there are no coordinated marketing efforts (especially in the international market), (2) the infrastructure is only of low quality and (3) there are high taxes on tourism products. In order to tackle these and other problems large consulting projects in the Himalayas region have been initiated. Most important for the case studies presented in this paper is certainly the “Uttarakhand Tourism Development Master Plan” conducted by the UNWTO (2008b), which sets the framework for the development processes at the local and regional level.