According to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), ecotourism can be defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” To put simple, ecotourism is an environmentally-friendly way of promoting tourist activities in the country. As the world has been adversely impacted by the climate change especially since last two decades, therefore it has become a dire need for promoting environmental-friendly policies that maintain the lands and livelihoods. This blog is written aiming to discuss ways to promote ecotourism policies. Furthermore, it will also be discussed that how can Pakistan ensure sustainable tourism in the country.

What is importance of ecotourism for any country?

Ecotourism has multifold benefits. Economically speaking, it is a way of boosting employment opportunities. It also uplifts livelihoods as people travel, the demand for hotels and motels significantly increases, thereby opportunities increase. In short, eco-tourism allows countries and communities to build their economies without harming the environment, which means that local wildlife can thrive and visitors can enjoy untouched destinations.
Socially speaking, culture of any region thrives due to ecotourism. This positive social impact might include; preserving the local culture and heritage; strengthening communities; provision of social services; commercialization of culture and art; revitalization of customs and art forms and the preservation of heritage. Ecotourism also helps to protect natural habitats and pristine environments. It focuses on unadulterated, pristine natural environments; It builds cultural and environmental awareness.

Efforts of incumbent government to promote eco-tourism

Taking notice of environmental degradation and climate change, the incumbent government in Pakistan has introduced a number of initiatives to promote sustainable tourism in the country. While the country experiences a significant tourism push, there are a number of policy measures in place to ensure longevity in ecotourism policies.
These range from the anti-encroachment drive in the Kaghan Valley to halt the use of single-use plastic in Hunza. In addition to this, the incumbent government has also launched a country-wide One Billion Tree Tsunami Initiative, as well as plantation drives in all major provincial capitals. Moreover, the government is also all set to introduce initiatives to offset the effects of environmental degradation.

As hunting is a sport that’s not only enjoyed by the locals but also by international tourists as well, a comprehensive system of patents has been put in place to ensure that the population of the animals isn’t affected in any way. Through this system of patents, locals are employed by and the wage for their services is also fixed. Thus, in this way hunting activities are also regulated, while at the same time employing locals.

Each year, the number of tourists visiting Pakistan’s northern areas increases significantly. In order to make this industry sustainable and expand its base, there is a need for continuous innovation in terms of reforms. As these are introduced, Zaitoon will keep updating about these initiatives. Stay in touch.