Accountable tourism is a new concept within the tourism industry. This concept was developed by Jost Krippendorf in the 1980’s.
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His aim was to “to develop and promote new types of tourism, which will bring the greatest possible benefit to all the participants – travelers, the host population and the tourist business, without causing intolerable ecological and social damage. inch
Responsible tourism can be defined as ” travel and leisure which creates better places for individuals to live in, and better locations to visit”. Some of the main goals of Responsible tourism are as follows:
1 . To respect local cultures – traditions, religions and built heritage.
2 . To protect the environment – its flora, fauna and landscapes.
3. To conserve natural resources : from source to destination.
4. To benefit local communities : both economically and socially.
5. To minimize pollution – through sound, waste disposal and congestion.
In the nut shell, Responsible tourism is that form of tourism in which initiatives and responsibilities are taken by both the travelers and the travel agencies to maximize good impacts and minimize the negative impacts on environment, traditions and cultural heritage of the region.
Accountable Tourism is rapidly growing global development. Some of the nations like South Africa, the United Kingdom, United States, the Gambia, Sri Lanka and India are already practicing Responsible Tourism and gradually other nations are following the ideologies of these countries.
India has an abundant scope to emerge as a Responsible tourism destination. Native indian tourism industry has grown immensely in the last five years and it is for sure that in the upcoming years India will end up a hot tourist destination associated with South East Asia. To sustain this growth process it is necessary that most the stakeholders of the Indian travel and leisure industry ie tour operators, government agencies and NGO’s must operate cohesion. They must protect the heritage of our country which in turn will advantage both the local communities and the travelers.
To develop India as a Responsible tourism destination, ICRT India which means International Centre For Resposible Travel and leisure works in collaboration with personal sector, government and local areas. It is a Bangolore based non-profit organization, establishes in 2006, whose main objective is to “take responsibility for achieving sustainable tourism, and to make better places for people to live within and for people to visit. ” It offers policy advice, research and consultation on developing Responsible Tourism within India.
Among all Indian states, Kerala has pioneered in practicing innovative tourism ideas. It is a state which is rich in traditions and lifestyle. It has started Responsible tourism in the state to create awareness among almost all stakeholders for a better environment to live and visit. Kerala has organized the second International Responsible tourism meeting from 21st March to 24th March, 2008.
Some of the successful Accountable tourism projects of India are –
“Sunderban Jungle Camp” initiated by Help Tourism group to connect the heritage sites and secured areas of Sunderban with the livelihood of the local communities through community-based, eco and socially responsible tourism.
“Awake and shine” is another successful Accountable Tourism project. This project was started by Retired Indian Army General “Jimmy” Singh in May 2006 to develop the Samthar Plateau near Kalimpong(40km) as a tourist destination according to the homestay holidays, local handicrafts along with other products. This project has helped the local community to improve their life style and the region to make its mark on the Indian tourist map.