Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
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Balancing Tourism and Environment: The ETM Model

Authors: U.V Jose, Muhammed Nahar, Vijayakumar S., Sonia Jose

Abstract:

Environment both endowed and built are essential for tourism. However tourism and environment maintains a complex relationship, where in most cases environment is at the receiving end. Many tourism development activities have adverse environmental effects, mainly emanating from construction of general infrastructure and tourism facilities. These negative impacts of tourism can lead to the destruction of precious natural resources on which it depends. These effects vary between locations; and its effect on a hill destination is highly critical. This study aims at developing a Sustainable Tourism Planning Model for an environmentally sensitive tourism destination in Kerala, India. Being part of the Nilgiri mountain ranges, Munnar falls in the Western Ghats, one of the biological hotspots in the world. Endowed with a unique high altitude environment Munnar inherits highly significant ecological wealth. Giving prime importance to the protection of this ecological heritage, the study proposes a tourism planning model with resource conservation and sustainability as the paramount focus. Conceiving a novel approach towards sustainable tourism planning, the study proposes to assess tourism attractions using Ecological Sensitivity Index (ESI) and Tourism Attractiveness Index (TAI). Integration of these two indices will form the Ecology – Tourism Matrix (ETM), outlining the base for tourism planning in an environmentally sensitive destination. The ETM Matrix leads to a classification of tourism nodes according to its Conservation Significance and Tourism Significance. The spatial integration of such nodes based on the Hub & Spoke Principle constitutes sub – regions within the STZ. Ensuing analyses lead to specific guidelines for the STZ as a whole, specific tourism nodes, hubs and sub-regions. The study results in a multi – dimensional output, viz., (1) Classification system for tourism nodes in an environmentally sensitive region/ destination (2) Conservation / Tourism Development Strategies and Guidelines for the micro and macro regions and (3) A Sustainable Tourism Planning Tool particularly for Ecologically Sensitive Destinations, which can be adapted for other destinations as well.

Keywords: Tourism, Environment, Spatial Planning, Model

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1073375

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References:


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