PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF ECOTOURISM IN KERALA: SOME EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FROM ‘KUMBALANGI’ PANCHAYAT IN ERNAKULAM DISTRICT
Worldwide tourism is recognized by the governments as a sector with high potential for economic development and employment generation. International agencies like World Tourism Organization (WTO) have underscored the vast developmental potential of tourism particularly for the developing nations like India. It is estimated that economies like India and China would emerge as the superpowers in world tourism by the years 2020. In spite of the appreciable growth in tourism over the last few years and the excellent growth prospects of the industry, there are growing apprehensions regarding the sustainability of tourism as a development paradigm primarily because of the adverse environmental impacts of tourism. It is widely believed that environment friendly tourism alone can be sustainable for development in the long run, and accordingly the concept of ‘Ecotourism’ is gaining significance day by day. In this context, this paper seeks to make an overall review of the current status of Indian tourism and its broad trends and patterns with a focus on Kerala tourism and its major problems and prospects, and also to make an empirical study of a typical ecotourism destination viz. ‘Kumbalangi’ in Ernakulam district of Kerala state which is recognized as the first model tourism village in the whole of India..
Key Terms: Tourism Vision 2020, Eco tourism, Sustainability.
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