As the world is fighting climate change and its adverse effects on the environment, there is an immense need for promoting policies that are environmentally-friendly, so that the sanctity of indigenous lands and natural habitats can be maintained.
Graana.com will take a look at what ecotourism is and why it is important for the country.
What is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is a type of tourism that involves visiting natural regions responsibly (such as using environmentally friendly transportation), preserving the environment, and enhancing the locals’ quality of life.
The goal of ecotourism may include educating tourists, raising money for ecological preservation, directly promoting the political and economic empowerment of local populations, and fostering respect for various cultures and human rights.
Environmentalists have viewed ecotourism as a vital activity since the 1980s in order for future generations to visit places that have mostly escaped human influence. With an eye toward ecological conservation, ecotourism may concentrate on educating visitors on local habitats and natural surroundings.
Some people include creating economic possibilities that make protecting natural resources financially feasible as part of the definition of ecotourism.
Importance of Ecotourism in Pakistan
Ecotourism has several advantages, as it is a means of increasing employment prospects economically. Additionally, it improves lives because as more people travel, there is a greater demand for hotels and motels. This then leads to more opportunities for employment.
In short, eco-tourism enables nations and communities to develop their economies without endangering the environment. This leads to tourists enjoying untainted locations and the local wildlife flourishing.
The provision of social services, the commercialization of culture and art, the revitalization of customs and art forms, the preservation of heritage, and the preservation of local culture are a few examples of this positive social influence.
Ecotourism also contributes to the preservation of pristine areas and natural habitats. It emphasises untainted, unspoiled natural settings and promotes environmental and cultural awareness.
Steps Taken by Pakistan Government to Promote Ecotourism
The current administration in Pakistan has established a number of initiatives. This is done to encourage sustainable tourism in the nation after becoming aware of environmental degradation and climate change.
While there is a sizable push for tourism in the nation, there are a number of governmental measures in place to guarantee the sustainability of ecotourism initiatives.
These range from the Hunza single-use plastic ban to the Kaghan Valley’s anti-encroachment campaign. Additionally, the current administration has started plantation efforts in all significant provincial capitals, in addition to the nationwide One Billion Tree Tsunami Initiative.
Additionally, the government is prepared to launch programmes to counteract the effects of environmental degradation.
A thorough system of patents has been put in place to guarantee that the animal population is not harmed due to hunting, a hobby that is appreciated by both locals and visitors from other countries.
Locals are employed and paid a fixed wage for their work through this patent system. Thus, hunting activities are also controlled in this manner while also providing locals with employment opportunities.
The number of tourists travelling to Pakistan’s northern regions has risen dramatically over the years. Therefore, reforms must be continuously updated in order to grow the base of this business and make it sustainable.
Ecotourism for Cultural Industry
A region’s cultural sector must be developed in a way that ensures its viability. Tourism-related activities generally have a negative impact on a region’s culture and societal standards.
To avoid such incidents, anyone acting improperly, including visitors and even locals, should be penalised. This includes those who paint on mountains, cut down trees, hunt animals, trash, or disrupt both people and animals.
Ecotourism for Hospitality Sector
Demand for hotels goes up with people travelling to tourist destinations in Pakistan. Locals construct hotels to meet this demand, occasionally without thinking about the potential impact on biodiversity. Encroachments also frequently occur when there is no regulatory body to conduct feasibility studies.
These encroachments have a negative impact on the environment. Moreover, it might take place on native land, natural preserves like wetlands, or along the path of natural waterways. Therefore, these actions are improper and prove to be harmful to the environment.
There is a need to conduct environmental studies of the area and divide each location into zones. This is to indicate whether or not development activities can take place in order to make real estate activity in the area viable. In order to prevent legal violations, the regulating authority should make sure that these requirements are completely followed.
Additionally, each hotel, motel, or guest home should be asked to submit a detailed plan. This plan includes how they will handle trash removal, add parking spots to accommodate more vehicles, and use the open spaces for recreational activities.
Collaboration of IMARAT & Marriott to Promote Ecotourism in Pakistan
IMARAT Group of Companies, in collaboration with Marriott International, has set up three projects in the past. This is done to promote ecotourism and the hospitality sector in Pakistan. These projects include Residence Inn by Marriott Islamabad, Courtyard by Marriott, and Four Points by Sheraton.
Residence Inn by Marriott Islamabad is set to open in July 2023 and is a part of a mixed-use project in DHA phase II. There are 100 suites and studios available, each with a distinct area for living, working, and sleeping, as well as a fully functional kitchen.
Another development that will be located on the main road connecting the city’s centre and diplomatic sector with the airport is the 144-room Courtyard by Marriott Islamabad.
Ideally located on the prime residential and commercial route of Islamabad Expressway, Four Points by Sheraton is the third project in collaboration to promote ecotourism in Pakistan.
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