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Globalisation, Governance & Grassroots

The Case of Ecotourism and its Impacts in Tribal Dominated Areas in India

November 2006

The growing popularity of ecotourism in India has paid scant attention to the rights of indigenous people and
concerns of civil society organisations that ecotourism at best is yet another form of greenwash. Largely ignored are
the core issues that constitute ecotourism: participation and benefits of communities in such tourism and negative
impacts of tourism on biodiversity and ecosystems. Currently, there are conflicts over access and use of natural
resources (particularly in Scheduled Areas) by indigenous peoples and local communities. These conflicts and
contradictions are exacerbated by the government’s push to open up Scheduled Areas under an international trading
regime (General Agreement on Trade in Services – GATS). This would make communities living there more vulnerable
to impacts of policies that do not benefit them and over which they have little influence. This paper analyses the
current state of the National and State Ecotourism Tourism Policies and their links to corporate led globalisation.

Newer biodiversity rich areas, under Protected Area status or otherwise, are being rapidly opened for ecotourism. In
the absence of coherent policy, regulation and guidelines, current forms of ecotourism have impacted biodiversity,
lives and governance systems of communities. Women are particularly affected as they confront increasing problems
of social biases, finding means of supporting basic necessities and shrinking spaces to have a say in matters that
affect them. Globalisation and its forces – trade, increasing corporate power, infrastructure requirements and
commodification are escalating these crises in forest areas and reducing community rights over their traditional
resources and customary spaces.

Ecotourism promotion & development in the globalization context

In India, many state governments have been exploiting the market 'potential' of tourism by actively promoting
“ecotourism” and other variants i.e., the development of tourism in biodiversity-rich areas. National policies and laws
like the National Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan, Biodiversity Act 2002, National Environment Policy, 2006, and
various central and state tourism policies have not been able to engage with or satisfy the concerns of groups raising
issues of biodiversity conservation, indigenous people’s rights and sustainability.

Recognising the growing importance of ecotourism globally, the United Nations designated the year 2002 as the
International Year of Ecotourism (IYE), and the Commission on Sustainable Development requested international
agencies, governments and private sector to undertake supportive activities. Along with the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Tourism Organization (WTO), who were officially designated as
coordinating organizations for IYE, The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) was assigned to undertake a series of
activities throughout IYE.

The IYE has given a boost to ecotourism in India and it has made many of the fears raised by indigenous peoples’
organizations and other civil society organizations come true. First of all, without assessing the environmental
impacts of various kinds of tourism in various locations, the IYE ‘opened the doors’ for tourism proponents to target
new areas for the sake of promoting ecotourism. Further, different forms of tourism like adventure tourism,
wilderness tourism and rural tourism have also begun to be bracketed within the ecotourism segment. At the national
level, increased activity of new players like the state forest departments has been seen. This has led to many of the
forest areas (national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, reserved forests) under the jurisdiction of the state forest
departments to be targeted for ecotourism. The IYE and other green certification processes like the Green Globe
certification has provided an opportunity for various tourism projects to lay claims to ecotourism on the basis of a few
eco-friendly practices. The reality of ecotourism development in India is that two most critical issues have been
ignored – participation and benefits of communities in such tourism and negative impacts of tourism on biodiversity
and ecosystems.

Moreover, community-owned tourism initiatives are still playing a marginal role compared to the other tourism
schemes, which are often labelled as ecotourism and developed by large, often global, tour operators. It is extremely
hard for communities to compete in a market that is fiercely competitive and which controlled by financial interests
located away from tourist destinations. Also, negative impacts on local communities can be significant as operators

are very likely to export their adverse environmental impacts, such as refuse, waste water and sewage, to parts of
the surrounding area unlikely to be visited by tourists.

Improperly planned tourism projects especially affect women. For instance in a scenario of depleting natural
resources, women are made to pay double the price for basic necessities as and further struggle to gain access to
potable water. The negative socio-cultural impacts of unplanned tourism, like prostitution, trafficking affect women
and children more adversely. India has progressive policies on participation of women in local self-governance
institutions. However the reality of the influence they can wield and implementation of the policies leaves much to be

There are conflicts over access and use of natural resources by indigenous peoples and local communities with the
central and state governments. The areas inhabited by indigenous peoples (Scheduled Areas) have been targeted for
large scale development projects, particularly extractive industries like water and power, which bring little benefits to
these people and take away more from them – their habitats, resources, cultural traditions and livelihoods. Tourism is
being actively considered as another entrant in this arena. Such existing conflicts and contradictions are exacerbated
by the government’s keen desire to open up these areas under an international trading regime that makes
communities living therein more vulnerable to impacts of policies that do not benefit them and they have little power
to influence. The union government’s decision to re-include Scheduled Areas of the Constitution under India’s latest
offer on services negotiations of the World Trade Organisation’s GATS Agreement is a case at hand.

Commonly held notions of ecotourism & sustainable tourism

The term ‘ecotourism’ was coined by a marketing agency that was promoting Costa Rica as a rainforest destination
and since then it has been seen as a niche market by the World Tourism Organisation, as it uses resources that are
linked to the biodiversity and cultural pluralism of third world societies or countries, which have been forced into
tourism as a core competency area by inter-governmental agencies for development.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) defines ecotourism as: "...Is environmentally responsible travel and visitation
to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural
features - both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for
beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations." [IUCN, Tourism, Ecotourism and Protected
Areas, Ceballos-Lascurain, 1996]

The travel industry defines ecotourism as "purposeful travel that creates an understanding of cultural and natural
history, while safeguarding the integrity of the ecosystem and producing economic benefits that encourage
conservation . . . The long-term survival of this special type of travel is inextricably linked to the existence of the
natural resources that support it" (Bandy, 1996 quoting: Ryel and Grasse 1991:164).

The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as, “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the
environment and improves the welfare of local people”.

Sustainable tourism has been conceptualised by the United Nations World Tourism Organization as: “Sustainability
principles refer to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable
balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability”1.

According to the World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO] tourism that involves travelling to relatively undisturbed
natural areas with the specified objective of studying, admiring and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and
animals, as well as any existing cultural aspects [both of the past and the present] found in these areas is defined as
ecotourism. An optimum number of environment friendly visitor activities, which do not have any serious impact on
the ecosystem and the local community and the positive involvement of the local community in maintaining the
ecological balance are some of its key elements (UNWTO, 20022).

With very little consensus between the industry, indigenous and local communities and other government and non-
government organizations on the definition of ecotourism, it is being been touted by the industry and as the
wonderful antidote to the development problems of hitherto untouched areas in India. Ecotourism is today the unique
selling proposition (USP) of the tourism industry and is being used to bring more and more tourists to fragile regions
like the forests and coasts. With nature and culture being the prime attraction it is only logical that the Ministry for

Tourism and Culture, state tourism departments and the tourism industry are selling India as an important
ecotourism destination.

References to ecotourism in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs)

For ecotourism development, it is important that it follows the directives provided in various multilateral
environmental agreements (MEAs) and national policies and laws. There are numerous codes, guidelines, protocols
and charters on ecotourism and sustainable tourism that have been formulated by different stakeholders especially
governments, tourism industry and inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations. Some of the important
ones are:

1. Agenda 21: Resulted in an action plan entitled "Agenda 21 for the Travel and Tourism Industry: Towards
Environmentally Sustainable Development". The relevant chapters of Agenda 21 that describe the
Participatory Approach are
Chapter 3 - combating poverty: enabling the poor to achieve sustainable livelihoods expresses the importance
of benefit sharing with local communities;
Chapter 26 that deals with recognizing and strengthening the role of indigenous people and their
Chapter 34 outlines the procedural steps for transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation and

2. Commission on Sustainable Development: A process led to the formulation of sustainable tourism guidelines
at the World Summit on Sustainable Development and emphasized the to promotion of sustainable tourism
development and capacity building in order to contribute to the strengthening of rural and local communities.

In para 5(a), it states “To promote sustainable tourism development in order to increase the benefits from the
tourism resources for the population in the host communities and maintain the cultural and environmental
integrity of the host community; to encourage cooperation of major groups at all levels with a view to
facilitating Local Agenda 21 initiatives and promoting linkages within the local economy in order that benefits
may be more widely shared; to this end, greater efforts should be undertaken for the employment of the local
workforce, and the use of local products and skills.”

And in para 10, “The Commission invites the United Nations Secretariat and the World Tourism Organization,
in consultation with major groups and other relevant international organizations, to jointly facilitate the
establishment of an ad hoc informal open-ended working group on tourism to assess financial leakages and
determine how to maximize benefits for indigenous and local communities; and to prepare a joint initiative to
improve information availability and capacity-building for participation, and address other matters relevant to
the implementation of the international work programme on sustainable tourism development.”

At its 7th session in New York on 19-30 April 1999 along with the UN General Assembly took a decision
(Decision 7/3) on Tourism and sustainable development:

To consult, as appropriate, with all major groups and local communities in the tourism development process,
including policy formulation, planning, management and sharing of benefits, which could reflect the need to
harmonize the relationship among the people, the community and the environment. To undertake capacity-
building work with indigenous and local communities in order to facilitate their active participation, at all
levels of the tourism development process, including transparent decision-making and sharing of benefits,
and to create awareness of the social, economic and environmental costs and benefits that they are bearing.

The sustainable tourism guidelines in the World Summit on Sustainable Development in its Final Plan of
Implementation3 (point 43) states to promote sustainable tourism development and capacity building in
order to contribute to the strengthening of rural and local communities.

It further states: “Promote sustainable tourism development, including non-consumptive and eco-tourism,
taking into account the spirit of the International Year of Eco-tourism 2002, the United Nations Year for
Cultural Heritage in 2002, the World Eco-tourism Summit 2002 and its Quebec Declaration, and the Global
Code of Ethics for Tourism as adopted by the World Tourism Organization in order to increase the benefits
from tourism resources for the population in host communities while maintaining the cultural and

environmental integrity of the host communities and enhancing the protection of ecologically sensitive areas
and natural heritages”.

3. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): Led to the formulation of the highly contentious International
Guidelines for activities related to sustainable tourism development in vulnerable terrestrial, marine and
coastal ecosystems and habitats of major importance for biological diversity and protected areas, including
fragile riparian and mountain ecosystems.

The CBD recognises the need to ensure that tourism is developed and managed in a manner that is
consistent with, and supportive of, the objectives of the CBD with regard to the conservation of biological
diversity and the sustainable use of its components, as well the basic concepts underlying the implementation
of the Convention, such as the ecosystem approach and the sustainable use of biological resources, as well as
guidelines concerning the respect, preservation and maintenance of knowledge, innovations and practices of
indigenous and local communities for their well-being and survival. The CBD affirms the need for benefits of
tourism to be shared in a fair and equitable manner with indigenous and local communities involved in, or
affected by, tourism development, and which therefore share in the costs of such development.

4. International Year of Ecotourism, 2002: A result of the growing global importance of ecotourism. International
agencies, governments and the private sector were asked to undertake supportive activities. The culmination
of this year was the Ecotourism Summit in May 2002.

The International Year of Ecotourism acknowledged that tourism has significant and complex social, economic
and environmental implications, which can bring both benefits and costs to the environment and local
communities, and hence emphasised that ecotourism should continue to contribute to make the overall
tourism industry more sustainable, by increasing economic and social benefits for host communities, actively
contributing to the conservation of natural resources and the cultural integrity of host communities, and by
increasing awareness of all travellers towards the conservation of natural and cultural heritage

5. The UN’s Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Sets out the rights of indigenous peoples to participate
in decisions and developments, which affect them and will have major implications for tourism.

The Draft Declaration deals with the rights of indigenous peoples in areas such as self-determination, culture
and language, education, health, housing, employment, land and resources, environment and development,
intellectual and cultural property, indigenous law and treaties and agreements with governments.4 The UN’s
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Part V sets out the rights of indigenous peoples to
participate in decisions and developments which affect them. Indigenous peoples must participate in, and give
their consent to, decisions and law making that affect them. They have the right to their own economic
activities and to special measures to improve their economic and social conditions. Part VI sets out the rights
of indigenous peoples to their land. They have the right to maintain their distinctive spiritual relationship with
their land, waters and resources. They have the right to own and develop their land, waters and resources,
and to the return of land taken without their consent. Their environment and their cultural and intellectual
property must be protected. Indigenous peoples have the right to control development of their land.

6. The UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (2000): An attempt to synthesize various documents, codes
and declarations, this Code recognises tourism, a beneficial activity for host countries and communities
stating that local populations should be associated with tourism activities and share equitably in the
economic, social and cultural benefits they generate, and particularly in the creation of direct and indirect jobs
resulting from them.

The Preamble of the Global Code of Ethics in Tourism5 considers that, with an approach to sustainable
tourism, all the stakeholders in tourism development - national, regional and local administrations,
enterprises, business associations, workers in the sector, non-governmental organisations and bodies of all
kinds belonging to the tourism industry, as well as host communities, the media and the tourists themselves,
have different albeit interdependent responsibilities in the individual and societal development of tourism and
that the formulation of their individual rights and duties will contribute to meeting this aim. Article 3 dealing
with Tourism as a factor of sustainable development states (in point 2) All forms of tourism development that
are conducive to saving rare and precious resources, in particular water and energy, as well as avoiding so far

as possible waste production, should be given priority and encouraged by national, regional and local public
authorities. The Global Code of Ethics in Tourism, Article 5: Tourism, a beneficial activity for host countries
and communities states that: Local populations should be associated with tourism activities and share
equitably in the economic, social and cultural benefits they generate, and particularly in the creation of direct
and indirect jobs resulting from them.

From the analysis of these MEAs, what can be gleaned in relation to ecotourism is that these agreements broadly
emphasise on three main aspects of ecotourism: participation, sustainability and benefit sharing (as shown in Table

Table I: Consolidated summary of relevant MEAs approving sustainable tourism values

Participatory Sustainable Benefit
Sl# International Agreements
Approach Tourism Sharing
I. The UN’s Agenda 21   
II. The Convention on Biological Diversity   
The UN’s Commission on Sustainable
The UN-CSD’s World Summit on
Sustainable Development
The UN’s International Year of Ecotourism
The UN’s Declaration on Rights of
Indigenous Peoples
The UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for
Tourism (2000)

However, it needs to be kept in mind that the international covenants emphasise only participatory approaches for
tourism development and they are silent or not strong enough on rights based approaches to access and control over
natural resources. Further, these agreements are negotiated with national governments and, as in the case of India
(the Union), the second level of governance (states) and first level of governance (local governing bodies) do not
have a role. It is assumed that the national government is representative of the states and local governing bodies.

Impact of globalisation on international processes

International processes like the IYE & MEAs like the CBD have tended to favour the tourism industry. This is evident
from the manner in which the IYE was pushed despite repeated pleas and protests from various indigenous and civil
society groups to rather have an international year to review ecotourism. Similarly was case with the sustainable
tourism guidelines6 of the CBD.

The IYE process

The concerns with the IYE were that what is presently considered as ecotourism is intended to “benefit investors,
empower managerial specialists, and delight tourists, not enhance the economic, social and ecological health of the
host communities” (Rethinking Tourism Project, Letter to UNEP, 27 October 2000) and the communities are left with
negative impacts and very marginal profits. Advancing the IYE would mean enhancement of social, environmental
and other problems for communities who are completely unprepared to increased tourism. Moreover, all the
discussions over ecotourism, especially the IYE, have failed to include and communicate meaningfully with indigenous
and local communities.

The top-down and North-biased approach in the IYE preparations, which was reflected in the lack of efforts made to
interact with Southern NGOs and people's organizations on issues under negotiation and to ensure their full and
meaningful participation in the discussion and decision-making process, reflected a tendency of exclusiveness to
those who raised fundamental questions on the IYE process. There was the added danger of domination of the IYE
process by industry and consumer interests originating from rich developed nations, while local people's needs and
aspirations as well as community environmental rights would be ignored.

“In Thailand, the World Bank agreed in 1998 to provide a US$300 million loan for a social investment project (SIP)
aimed at tackling the problems of unemployment, loss of income and the higher cost of social services arising from
the economic meltdown and the crippling structural adjustment programme (SAP) prescribed by the IMF. A major
set of government programmes under SIP was directly related to (eco-)tourism development, including
beautification projects, the installation of bi-lingual signs and the construction of toilets for tourists in rural areas.
According to the SIP mission report, these tourism projects to be coordinated by the Tourism Authority of Thailand
(TAT) would promote “new approaches and procedures, for example, incorporating more local community

However, social activists argued the idea of making tourism a major component of the World Bank-led SIP were
deceptive because such activities were primarily to boost earnings for debt servicing, and local communities had
other, more immediate needs in this time of hardship. In addition, an eco-tourism project in Northern Thailand to
be managed by the Forest Industry Organization with a SIP loan from the Japanese Overseas Economic
Cooperation (OECF) provoked protests from indigenous Karen people who saw their traditional livelihoods, culture
and environment threatened”.

Pleumarom, Anita (1999). “Eco-Tourism: An Ecological and Economic Trap for Third World Countries”,

The CBD and tourism

At the Seventh Conference of Parties (COP) of the CBD (2004) in Kuala Lumpur it was strongly suggested that is
important for the COP to address the importance of process. Poor process can be an underlying cause of biodiversity
loss. In this regard, many lessons stood to be learnt from the CBD dialogue on tourism. These lessons were not to
be lost, nor would they be overlooked when considering the draft guidelines on tourism. It was felt that rushing the
adoption of these tourism guidelines, before proper review by Indigenous Peoples, would reflect poorly on the CBD.
Despite such appeals by indigenous groups, the guidelines were adopted.

The industry has been given a holiday from accountability and responsibility under the tourism guidelines in the CBD.
Instead, the guidelines state promotion of corporate policies by tourism industry on sustainable practices. The
conflicts with policies of communities and civil society organizations have not been considered. The guidelines do not
state penalization of offenders. Only redress and compensation measures have been included in place of polluter pays
principle without mention of penalization that may have to be imposed on violators.

The guidelines assume tourism actions are mitigating threats to biodiversity. This is against the fundamental
understanding that any tourism activity will, on the contrary, have an impact on the biodiversity whatever be the
nature of activity. It is yet to be proven that tourism activities have reduced intensity of impacts on biodiversity leave
alone mitigate them. This is against the objectives of the CBD itself, which says sustainable use of natural resources
on the presumption that any activity needs to be sustainable because it has an impact.

Multilateral environmental agreements, which are primarily formulated for protecting the environment, are
increasingly being influenced by economic interests (read global corporate interests), as is evident from the above
examples of the IYE and CBD. Even when protection related procedures are formulated, the objective is to facilitate
economic enterprise. On the other hand, the MEAs have very little influence over trade agreements. E.g. MEAs like
the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) only have observer status in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and
their inputs are limited to the CBD text only7. No inter-governmental organization has yet been granted permanent
observer status for the WTO’s Committee on Trade & Environment (CTE). Whereas the MEAs recognise the intrinsic
linkage of indigenous and local communities to the environment in which they live, when it comes to evolving steps
towards environmental conservation and protection, there is an obvious tilt is towards privileging private economic

Further environment protection measures that countries implement under MEA obligations that might impact
international trade may be considered as barriers to trade and thus challenged as violations of a country’s WTO
obligations. Therefore, in India, environmental policies and laws are currently being modified to facilitate the entry of
multinational companies. The analysis of national laws and policies applicable to ecotourism are discussed in the
following section to draw the links to policy formulation.

National Ecotourism Policy of India – a Critical Analysis

An overview of the policy:

The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) - Government of India launched its Ecotourism Policy & Guidelines in 1998. The MoT
considers the policy & guidelines for the development of ecotourism in India a result of its initiatives in pursuance of
government policy to achieve sustainable tourism development. These guidelines have been formulated “to ensure
regulated growth of ecotourism with its positive impacts of environmental protection & community development”. The
policy & guidelines are addressed to all state government, industry associations & those involved in tourism
development and preservation of environment & natural resources. According to the policy document, following
reports and papers have been analyzed, while drafting the Ecotourism Policy for India:

1. Guidelines for the development of National Parks and Protected areas for Tourism of the UN WTO ( World
Tourism Organization)
2. PATA Code for Environmentally Responsible Tourism
3. Environmental Guidelines for the World Travel and Tourism Council ( WTTC)
4. The Himalayan Code of Conduct prepared by the Himalayan Tourism Advisory Board
5. Ecotourism Guidelines by Ecotourism Society.

The Policy defines ecotourism as drawn up by the UNWTO “tourism that involves traveling to relatively undisturbed
natural areas with the specified object of studying, admiring and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and animals
as well as any existing cultural aspects ( both of the past or present) found in these areas”. The policy enlists the key
elements of ecotourism as being: a natural environment as the prime attraction; environment friendly visitors;
activities that do not have a serious impact on the ecosystem; and a positive involvement of the local community in
maintaining the ecological balance.

The policy outlines all geographic areas of India comprising of different ecosystems as ecotourism resources and
states that these have been well protected and preserved. This reflects the position of MoT which is not willing to
accept the damage that has been caused to these ecosystems through various developmental activities including

Policy and Planning:

As far as the principles and approach of the policy is concerned, there are four ‘cardinal principles’ outlined in the
1. Involve local community & lead to overall economic development of area.
2. Identify resource use conflicts for tourism & local livelihoods & minimize.
3. Type / scale of tourism to be compatible with environment / socio cultural characteristics of local community.
4. Planned as part of overall area development strategy, guided by integrated land use plan associated with
commensurate expansion of public services.

Operational Guidelines:
In this section the policy recognizes key players in the ecotourism businesses, which are: Government both central
and at state level, the local authorities, the developers and operators, visitors and the local community. However in
the detailed guidelines, local authorities have been eliminated and NGOs and scientific research organisations have
been incorporated.

The guidelines provided by policy are basically roles and responsibilities to be performed by government. It is not
clearly stated the levels of government (local, district, state, national), responsible for these guidelines. These
guidelines broadly cover aspects like preparation of management plan by professional architects and urban planners,
planning control and regulations, zoning, establish standards and building codes , specify environmental and social
carrying capacities , monitoring tourism impacts, provide visitor information and interpretation services, launch
training programmes and recognize and award quality labels to ecotourism operators. The guidelines for developers,
operators and suppliers are exhaustive, compared to those for communities, NGOs and visitors. The operators and
developers have been entrusted with all the roles and responsibilities pertaining to following the environmental
norms, standards, zoning regulations, involving local communities and providing correct information to the tourists in
their promotional materials. The policy mentions the need for environmental impact assessment, but the details are
not there. In other words, developers and operators have been made responsible to implement guidelines of

ecotourism. However from the policy document it is not clear who is responsible to monitor and evaluate the
implementation of these guidelines by the tourism industry.

The policy also mentions roles and responsibilities of visitors, which is progressive. On the other hand roles and
responsibilities of local communities have been restricted to respecting local environment, having friendly relationship
with the tourists and adhering to the codes and conservation practices. Planning, decision making, monitoring, and
impact assessment have not been assigned to local community, which is a serious lacuna. Similarly roles of local
authority or institutions of local self governance have been completely bypassed by assigning those responsibilities to
the government or developers, operators and suppliers.

The policy concludes with an environmental pledge to incorporate eco-friendly practices in tourism destinations like
safe garbage disposal, respecting local cultures and building eco-lodges and resorts.

Analysis of the Policy

The policy, by stating that it draws from international guidelines prepared by tourism industry associations and
organisations, is actually representing the interests of these global players in relation to ecotourism development in
India. Hence the approach of the policy is to protect the environment for the sake of the tourism industry. That is
because, when the environment is protected, the tourism industry stands to benefit when tourists come to experience
the nature. In this setting, the indigenous and local communities become important as “stakeholders” who have
knowledge of the local environment. Therefore, they become subservient to a process where environmental
protection is beyond their control and is being pursued for the sake of supporting economic enterprise.

What the policy fails to realise is the cross linkages between ecotourism and the social, cultural, economic and
institutional processes of the indigenous and local communities. Their lives are very closely linked to the environment
and their customs and traditions bear strong linkages to it. Ideally, thus, the ecotourism policy and guidelines should
have drawn from laws and policies pertaining to:

• Ministry of Commerce and Industry

• Ministry of Culture
• Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region
• Ministry of Environment and Forests
• Ministry of Finance
• Ministry of Labour and Employment
• Ministry of Panchayati Raj
• Ministry of Rural Development
• Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
• Ministry of Tribal Affairs
• Ministry of Women and Child Development

The policy enlists critical habitats as ecotourism resources, viz: mangroves, coral reefs, deserts, mountains, forests,
freshwater & marine water resources and caves. It is to be kept in mind that these habitats have been so far not
been subjected to the kind of tourism prevalent in other areas like hills, beaches & few popular Protected Areas, e.g.
Periyar, Corbett, by bringing these habitats, which may be confronted by a whole different set of impacting factors,
the policy will allow tourism to more in into them. It would be worthwhile to mention here that the tsunami of 26 Dec
2004 has reiterated the need to preserve coastal ecosystems. Hence the idea of having ecotourism in mangroves &
coral reefs is risky, as there are inherent problems in the way in which ecotourism is being practiced currently.

The policy states that a selective approach, scientific planning, effective control & continuous monitoring are required
for ecotourism development. This is positive step, however reconciliation between aspects highlighted earlier –
opening new areas; recognition of existing tourism impacts and so on also need to be factored in.

On the four cardinal principles outlined in the policy:

1. Involvement of the local community is based on the decision of local governing bodies to allow ecotourism
based on prior informed consent.
2. Linking ecotourism development to the overall economic development of the area is a good approach & needs
to be carefully chalked out. The principle is social equity & equitable sharing of benefits from ecotourism

activities in conflict resolution, the needs of local communities need to be given preference over needs of the
tourism industry. The ‘polluter pays’ principle needs to be discouraged.
3. Where the policy states: type / scale of tourism to be compatible with environment / socio cultural
characteristics of local community; and
4. Planned as part of overall area development strategy, guided by integrated land use plan associated with
commensurate expansion of public services

These are progressive approaches & need to be operationalised in an effective manner.

Involvement of local community, recognition to local livelihood, and having tourism development compatible with
environmental and socio economic characteristics of local community gives a sense that the policy is based on
community based and sustainable tourism principles. However the policy is silent when it comes to the actual role
played by the communities in need-based planning for physical infrastructure, zoning exercises, evolving tourism
management plan, monitoring and impact assessment. It provides some guidelines with respect to planning, without
clearly pronouncing the role of local communities and local self governing institutions.

The other aspects of ensuring effective environment friendly practices in planning, operations & infrastructure
development are progressive. Where the policy does not address crucial maters is on environmental & social impacts
assessments of ecotourism development. Ecotourism activities need to be scrupulously monitored to ensure that
there are no negative impacts arising out of the activities. The policy does not take this into account; monitoring also
needs to be strengthened with research. The traditional practices & knowledge needs to be in integral part of
baseline information for research & draws on local communities understanding of understanding impacts.

Recognizing & awarding quality labels to ecotourism operators has its inherent weakness. This is because such
certification processes lay down elaborate & detailed procedures, which will be appropriate for established tourism
players. Many community based initiatives, with or without support from other stakeholders like NGO’s, Governments
etc., would not be able to meet the requirements of such certification procedures. Recognizing that this will be not
easy to implement it from a local governance body perspective, it is suggested that an ecotourism project is branded
with the name of the place & the permissions for using the brand is obtained from the local governing body. Instead
of merely involving local community in activities & vocations, there should also be a responsibility on the industry to
train on various levels rather than limiting to low profile jobs like cleaning & housekeeping. The governments should
support community tourism initiatives with financial /capacity building support

The guidelines do not refer to legal frameworks that may be in force from time to time, including primarily those that
are in the realm of local governance, state & central.

State Ecotourism Policies - Analysis
For this analysis five states’: Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa, tourism /
ecotourism policies have been considered. The policies and plans have been based on certain criteria reflecting
community concerns in ecotourism (refer the table). These states evolved tourism or ecotourism policy after 1998,
i.e. once ecotourism policy was evolved by Central Government. The states other than Madhya Pradesh do not have a
separate ecotourism policy. Even in Madhya Pradesh it is a combined policy on Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism. In
some other states, even the state tourism policies are not available. References have been made to State
Development Reports where policies are not available.

Overview of socio economic profiles of study states

Was carved out of Madhya Pradesh state in year 2000. One third of Chhattisgarh’s population comprises indigenous
people, mostly in the thickly forested areas of the North and South. Of the total population of Chhattisgarh, Schedule
Tribes constituted about 32% which is a significantly high percentage. The demographic profiles have also changed
with the proportion of non-tribals increasing in the last few decades, as is evident in Bastar8.

Chhattisgarh is one of the mineral rich states, attracting industrialization in big way. In recent years, land grabbing by
industrial giants have affected agrarian communities. Chhattisgarh is one of the densely forested state, with 12% of
India's forests. Identified as one of the richest bio-diversity habitats, about 44% of land area of state has forest
cover. The rich forest cover, wild life, water resources in form of streams and water falls and rich tribal heritage have
been marketed by the government as possible tourism products.

A new state came into existence in November 2000, carved out of Bihar. The demand for a separate adivasi state
started soon after independence and continued for decades. Jharkhand is a land locked territory bound by the state
of Bihar on the north, West Bengal on the east, Orissa on the south, and Chhattisgarh on the west. Jharkhand has
remained home to a number of indigenous communities and communities like Santhal, Munda. Ho, Bhumij, Kharwar
and Kharia have significant share in population. Overall, as per 2001 census Jharkhand has about 28% of Scheduled
Tribe population, with some districts having more than 50% Schedule Tribe population. Jharkhand has 22 districts,
out of which 13 districts have Schedule areas, falling under PESA regulations.

Jharkhand is endowed with rich mineral wealth. 33% of the country's coal reserves are in Jharkhand, while iron ore,
copper, bauxite, chromite, granite, magnetite are other significant minerals in the state. So far, Jharkhand’s economy
has developed over these mineral resources and has favoured massive industrialisation. The mining and industrial led
displacement in Jharkhand has affected local communities, specially indigeneous population of the state. After the
formation of new state in 2000, Jharkhand Government has identified tourism as potential sector due to rich forest,
wild life, water resources and cultural heritage.

Madhya Pradesh
Is located in the geographic heart of India. Madhya Pradesh is endowed with a large range of natural and cultural
resources. The state has convergence of vast river basins (Narmada, Tapti, Godawari, Mahanadi, Sone) and the
watershed of a number of rivers. Madhya Pradesh contributes about 12% of India’s forest cover, with 31% of
geographical area of state under forests. Forest areas are classified into Reserved, Protected and Unclassified forests,
which constitute 61.7%, 37.4% and 0.9% of the forest area respectively. Madhya Pradesh is home to several national
parks and natural reserves. The national parks of Madhya Pradesh include Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Satpura, Sanjay,
Madhav, Van Vihar, Mandla, Panna and Pench. Apart from rich in biodiversity Madhya Pradesh is rich in cultural and
historical heritage, and it has numerous architecturally significant sites.

The tribal population has significant share in state (approximately 23% by 2001 census). It is further demonstrated
by the fact that out of 48 districts of Madhya Pradesh, 10 districts have fully or partially Schedule V areas (refer table

Is the third largest state in India after Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The state has diverse geomorphic features,
coastal belt on western side, hilly ranges of Western Ghats running parallel to the coast, at an average elevation of
1,200 metres, Deccan plateau and river plains. Coastal stretches, hilly and forested areas, and heritage sites have

been targeted for tourism development. Several wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and Project Tiger reserves have
been created in Maharashtra, with the aim of conserving the rich bio-diversity of the region. As of May 2004, India
has 92 national parks, of which 5 are located in Maharashtra. Much of Maharashtra's forests and consequently the
wildlife are in Vidarbha region .Apart from these, Maharashtra has 35 wild life sanctuaries spread all over the state.

Maharashtra has about 9% of Schedule Tribe population, spread mostly in Vidarbha and Western Ghats. About 10
districts have Schedule areas regulated under PESA provision. Maharashtra is one of the most industrialized states in
the country, with diversified economic base.

Like Maharashtra, Orissa is also characterised by diverse geomorphic features and rich biodiversity On the basis of
homogeneity, continuity and physiographical characteristics, Orissa has been divided into five major morphological
regions : the Orissa Coastal Plain in the east, the Middle Mountainous and Highlands Region, the Central plateaus, the
western rolling upholds and the major flood plains. With its rich natural resources, ancient historical monuments,
pilgrimage sites and cultural heritage, the state has been one of the oldest tourism locations in eastern India.

There are about 62 indigenous communities, constituting about one fourth of state’s population (census 2001). The
tribal pockets of state is mainly in Northern parts (Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar), southern (Malkangiri, Koraput, Kalahandi)
and western parts bordering with Chhatisgarh. These areas coincide with mineral and industrial resources of the
state. In post 1991 phase, Orissa is one of the leading states to go for privatisation and liberalisation. Recently the
number of companies who have signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to set up steel plants in the state has
gone upto 50, including Posco of South Korea which has agreed to construct a mammoth $12 billion steel plant near
Paradip port9. This massive investment by mining giants in state has raised serious concerns on livelihood of
indigenous communities, dependent on forest and land resources. Over the years collection of forest produce,
hunting and persuasion of other traditional ways of living have become increasingly difficult.

Table 1: Study states and Schedule V Areas

State Schedule V Areas

Chattisgarh Sarbhuja, Bastar, Raigad, Raipur, Rajnandgaon, Durg, Bilaspur, Sehdol, Chindwada, Kanker

Jharkhand Dumka, Godda, Devgarh, Sahabgunj, Pakur, Ranchi, Singhbhum (East&West), Gumla, Simdega,
Lohardaga, Palamu, Garwa, (some districts are only partly tribal blocks)
Madhya Jhabua, Mandla, Dhar, Khargone, East Nimar (Khandwa), Sailana tehsil in Ratlam district, Betul,
Pradesh Seoni, Balaghat, Morena
Maharashtra Thane, Nasik, Dhule, Ahmednagar, Pune, Nanded, Amravati, Yavatmal, Gadchiroli, Chandrapur
(parts of these districts only)
Orissa Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Koraput (fully scheduled area in these three districts), Raigada,
Keonjhar, Sambalpur, Boudhkondmals, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Balasor (parts of these
districts only)

Overview of ecotourism policies of study states: Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand

The Chhattisgarh Government has not yet come up with a comprehensive Tourism Policy. The website states that one
of the major objectives of the policy is to promote economically, culturally and ecologically sustainable tourism in the

Under the section ecotourism it has been emphasized that with 12% share of India’s forests, Chhattisgarh’s 3
National Parks and 11 Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks are a major attraction. It has several virgin attractions
in protected areas such as Kanger Valley National Park, Barnawapara, Sitanadi, Udanti and Achanakmar Sanctuaries.
Mainpat (Surguja), Keshkal valley (Kanker), Chaiturgarh (Bilaspur), Bagicha (Jashpur), Kutumbsar caves, Kailash
caves, Tirathgarh falls, Chitrakot falls (Bastar) “are all exhilarating destinations being promoted for nature and wildlife
tourism. Wildlife areas, camping grounds and trekking facilities would be few of the prime attractions”.

The policy also states that the endangered Wild Buffalo (Bubalis bubalis) and the even more endangered Hill Myna
(Graculis religiosa peninsularis) are the State Animal and State Bird respectively and the State has taken several
steps for their preservation. It is the duty of the Forest Department and the State Government to protect these
species. Hence ecotourism will help in preserving these and other species of biodiversity.

The policy also says that natural attractions are being promoted with increased local participation. The level of
participation in the process and mechanisms of benefit sharing are not detailed out.

The policy also stresses that there would be encouragement to herbal gardens and natural health resorts. The
mystique of aboriginal tribal ethno-medicine which predates even Ayurveda has been preserved and practised over
the millenia.

In Jharkhand a separate policy on ecotourism or tourism is not available. The state Industrial policy has Chapter No.
12 as Tourism. It only says that “priority shall be accorded to develop ecotourism.

Madhya Pradesh
The Government of Madhya Pradesh had announced its Tourism Policy in 1995. One of major objectives of the policy
was the promotion of Eco and Adventure Tourism. Further to this, for strengthening and implementing the above
objective, the Government of Madhya Pradesh came up with the Eco and Adventure Tourism Policy in 2001-02.

In the background note the policy states “Today’s tourist is not content with cultural or religious tourism alone- the
tourist today looks for some thrill, fun, adventure and something other than routine. In keeping with this change in
attitude of tourists, the State Government has decided to actively promote Eco-Tourism and Adventure Tourism. In
order to popularize and develop these forms of tourism, Government is for the first time, seeking participation of
private investors.” Thus, the Eco and Adventure Tourism Policy says that the State Government has decided to
actively promote Eco-Tourism and Adventure Tourism in the state with the understanding that the tourist today looks
for some thrill, fun, adventure and something other than the routine. The policy makers have not differentiated
between ecotourism and adventure tourism and that could be the reason for the combined policy. The activities listed
in Annexure I has been stated as “Selected Activities for Development of Eco and Adventure Tourism”

The salient features of the policy include the measures to involve private participation, which includes type of
activities, locations, and other financial considerations. It is interesting to note that criteria for sanctioning the project
as per policy is commercial viability of the project and not meeting environmental standards and zoning regulations.
The policy devotes one complete section on procedures for private sector participation, which basically talks about the
financial and legal procedures. The policy on the whole looks like a disinvestment and private sector participation
policy and not as an ecotourism policy. Even environmental and zoning standards, which are prerequisite for any
ecotourism policy, have been left out.

The policy also states that Madhya Pradesh with its richly endowed natural environment, unexploited so far, has
immense potential for eco and adventure activities. Instead of depending on its limited resources, the State
Government has decided to open up this sector for private participation for optimum utilization of these natural
resources. The policy, by its wording, has decided to exploit the natural resources at its maximum level and has
decided to open up the ecologically fragile areas for private entrepreneurs as the state government is handicapped to
exploit the natural resources to the optimum. This would attract tourists in large numbers.

While expecting large number of tourists to visit the ecotourism projects, the policy has said that weightage will be
given to projects that ensure ecological balance and maintaining carrying capacity. It further adds that if different
criteria suggested by the government are equally achieved by the investors, then the projects of low density intake
will be given preference. Further, under the procedure for private participation, the policy states that applications will
be considered on “First Come, First Served” basis. All these statements are quite contradicting and the government’s
intention on sustainability and conservation is to be suspected.

The identified places for eco and adventure tourism activities have areas adjacent to three National Parks – Satpura
National Park, Panna National Park and Pench National Park. The policy has also given the option for the private
entrepreneurs to select their own sites for activities subject to government approval. The policy further states that it

has only suggested sites and private entrepreneurs are welcome to submit other site specific proposals, including
heritage sites like the Gwalior Fort.

On the facilities given to successful applicants, “the vehicles mentioned in the project report for transporting tourists
to visit the identified location will enjoy an exemption from transport taxes for a period of 5 years.” Taxes are the
source of income for the local governments and by this policy of exempting tax for first years. The government has
also proposed to given concessions on license fee to operate liquor shops in the project sites and relaxation on the
existing norm of having minimum ten rooms for guests in a hotel. The policy uses this platform to permit alcohol
businesses as part of the eco & adventure tourism development.

The policy overall looks like a hassle free guidelines for the private entrepreneurs to invest in ecologically fragile areas
and reap the profit exploiting the natural resources. The stress on privatization is quite significant in the policy as the
procedure has been repeated thrice under different sub-sections: preamble, a separate section on procedure for
private sector participation and under annexure 1!

Maharashtra has a tourism policy launched in the year 2002 and does not have an ecotourism policy. The policy’s
entire focus is on disinvestment and incentives given to private parties for developing tourism, including ecotourism.
Maharashtra policy also goes to the details on incentives provided, which includes exemption from luxury tax,
exemption from Entertainment Tax/Amusement Tax, exemption from stamp duty in respect of tourism projects
located in Maharashtra, electricity concessions and so on. According to the policy, the nodal authority to implement,
monitor tourism projects will be Maharashtra State Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), while role of other
government departments, civil society, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have not
been specified.

Further the Govt. of Maharashtra has come out with a scheme called the “New Package Scheme of Incentives for
Tourism Projects July 2000 to March 2005”10 (hereinafter referred to as the Tourism Incentive Scheme-2000) and
thus it is not even a tourism policy. Hill stations, ecotourism projects and adventure tourism have been brought under
purview of tourism incentive scheme.

In the document, under Annexure A, ecotourism projects that would be entitled for incentives is defined as the
project which will maintain the natural beauty of the place, which will not disturb the environment and maintain the
ecological balance. The note does not addresses the community participation or benefit sharing mechanisms that has
to be built in any of the ecotourism projects as per various international definitions. The document also classifies
projects like houseboats as ecotourism projects.

Under Future Tourism Development section of the State Development Report it says that, Maharashtra Tourism
Development Corporation (MTDC) has allocated 5 crores for wildlife and ecotourism in Vidarbha region. The document
further adds that the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) Ltd. has appointed the Indian Society
for Environment, Art and Cultural Heritage (Indsearch) to conduct eco-tours in the vicinity of the forests in
Maharashtra. It further states that “[T]here is excellent potential for ecotourism since Maharashtra has an estimated
forest cover of more than 103 sq km”. The FDCM along with the forest department of Maharashtra plans to utilise the
exisiting available infrastructure for the development of eco-tourism along with Indsearch, who will conduct guided
tours in various forests, sanctuaries. While doing the SWOT analysis, the document says that the rise in rural and
ecotourism world-wide finds ample opportunity in Maharashtra with its forests and national parks as well as special
areas like Lonar. Even in the long term plan the document stresses to tap the national parks and forest as potential
areas of ecotourism destinations.

The Orissa Tourism Policy as per the official website does not speak about ecotourism per se. The analysis was done
based on the State Development Report 2001 submitted to the Planning Commission, Government of India.

The State Development Report says that “Orissa’s rich culture, heritage and ecology can attract a substantial number
of eastern, south-eastern and foreign tourists who look for such culture or eco - tourism.” The document further adds
that Karlapat with its treasure of wild lives and Gandhamardan hills would be unique spots for eco-tourists.

These statements clearly state that the nature, ecology and wildlife areas would be the focus point of development for
ecotourism. The issue of local participation or check on resource use which is outlined as cardinal principles of
national ecotourism policy does not find a place in the document.

The report states, “The flora and fauna of the forest is a paradise for nature and eco-tourists, the potentiality of which
is yet to be exploited by tour operators, particularly those involved with foreign tourists. There is a need to impress
upon tour operators operating in the metropolis to launch such eco or nature tourism in south and western Orissa.”

In 2004, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Pvt. Ltd. has prepared the Strategy for Tourism in Orissa for Department of
Tourism, Government of Orissa with funding from Department for International Development (DfID). In this report,
one entire chapter has been devoted to ecotourism, while a separate chapter deals with land related legislations and
land lease principles. The recommendations of this report on land use inside forests, national parks and sanctuaries
• Picnic spots just outside the boundaries of reserved and protected forests
• Nature trails, watch towers and camping sides inside the forests
• Using forest bungalows and guest houses to provide accommodation to special interest tourists in regulated
• Inclusion of tourism projects in working plans and management plans
• Developing tourism facilities in the forests under control of Revenue Department

On ecotourism, the report gives the details of approach and action steps to be taken. It is clear from the
recommendations that the idea of having ecotourism development has completely ignored community and even
environmental concerns. The document gives ample importance to private sector participation and land acquisition by
nodal authority and transfer to the private parties to be involved in ecotourism.

Table 2: Community Concerns and Tourism Policy/ Plans

Important 1998 National State Level Policies / Plans on tourism / ecotourism
Community Ecotourism Policy &
Concerns Guidelines
Priority given to local a) Economic No Priorities Objective of Not Not
economic development is one of mention given to plan is to considered considered
development and the cardinal principles develop new help state in
aspirations of local b) Need to include tourism promoting
people community services at products by forest and
the physical planning private wildlife
stage investors based
c) Employment to local Incentives to tourist
people not mentioned private attractions
as mandatory players and and not
enriching livelihood to
experience of local
tourists is communities
priority and
not local
and livelihood
Respect to local Tourism should be No No mention No specific Not Not
culture, social and compatible to socio mention mention considered considered
traditional norms cultural characteristics
of the local
community: mentioned
as one of the cardinal
Access and Control No specific guidelines No No mention No specific Not Not
over natural on this mention mention considered considered

Equitable Sharing of No No mention of No specific Not Not
benefit mention local mention considered considered
Participation in Planning, decision No No mention No specific Not Not
Planning & decision making, regulatory mention mention considered considered
making process functions have been
assigned to
Participation in Monitoring impacts, No No mention of No specific Not Not
evaluation and evolving code of mention impact mention considered considered
impact assessment conducts have been assessment
assigned to by any
government. stakeholder.
Practicing EIA is with Not even by
industry/ investor Government.
Recognition/ No specific mention No No mention No specific Not Not
importance given to mention mention considered considered
marginalised sections
( Dalits and IPs)

Gender concern in No specific mention No No mention No specific Not Not

policy mention mention considered considered

Links to globalisation Drawn from guidelines No Key focus on Focus on Not Not
of international mention private public considered considered
tourism associations participation, private
and organizations tax partnership,
exemption, leasing out
fiscal land to
measures. private
Socio players for
economic and ecotourism
environmental development
concerns have and fiscal
been incentives
neglected including tax

The state
strategy has
prepared by
PwC with
funding from

* Chattisgarh and Jharkhand do not have tourism or ecotourism policy or a plan, and thus it becomes difficult to
deduce the position of the respective state governments on the above mentioned policy analysis parameters.

Analysis of central and state ecotourism policy and plans from the globalisation perspective
Ecotourism is emerging as the booming face of the tourism industry; it is meant to bringing more and more tourists
to fragile regions like the forests and thus helps in expanding the profits of the tourism industry. Marketing
mechanisms are geared up to term the regular tourist as ‘eco-tourist’ and vacations are being promoted as ‘eco
travels’ and ‘eco-tours’. To keep up with global trends, India has also become part of the ecotourism bandwagon.

The state policies are oriented towards the tourism industry with a focus on private investment. First of all, it is
appalling to see that the policies do not recognise the negative impacts of ecotourism on ecosystems and
communities. Secondly, going by ecotourism’s principles of conservation and benefits to local communities, the
policies hardly address these. Instead, the thrust is on opening up all naturally important and ecologically sensitive
areas for ecotourism. That the lives and livelihoods of communities dependent on these natural resources will be
impacted, and severely so if ecotourism is unregulated, is hardly acknowledged in the policies.

In the context of globalization, liberalization of tourism is being considered under the General Agreement on Trade in
Services (GATS), which is a sub-agreement of the World Trade Organization. Tourism has received commitments
from 128 WTO Members, more than any other sector under the GATS and is propagated as a sector which seemingly
has lot of gains for developing countries. The tourism industry is connected to virtually all other service sectors in the
classification list.

Ecotourism has threatened indigenous and local communities in both ways: one when ecotourism is propagated by
government and private ventures and partnerships. The second is even when communities want to get involved in
ecotourism development and manage it on their own, they hardly find the wherewithal and support from
governments on all fronts: capital, subsidies, capacity building, personnel and so on. Hence in areas where
communities are aspiring to engage with tourism as a livelihood supplement, entry of players in the tourism sectors
liberalized by India would give unfair competition to the communities by the virtue of their competitive edge, ability
to raise and invest resources and broader market reach. Foreseeable effects of market access11 in the globalisation
context could mean that providers of travel and tourism related services would expand their business in holiday
destinations and increasingly compete with local providers (EQUATIONS, 1999).

Rights of indigenous and local communities

Policy directives at the international level on environment, rights of indigenous peoples and code of tourism ethics lay
down the need for having a participatory approach in tourism development in general and ecotourism in particular.
They also specify the need to incorporate sustainability principles and benefit sharing mechanisms. However, policies
at the national and state levels are far from addressing the principles outlined in the international policy directives
and multilateral environmental agreements. There is an obvious gap even between the national policy and state
policies. There is a need, thus, to link up the state policies to the national policy and for the national policy to relate
to international policies on ecotourism. Further, in the wake of the added thrust to ecotourism and the involvement of
various national and international agencies involved in promotion of ecotourism, governments must be inclined to
bring in regulations to ecotourism development. Otherwise it may turn out to be a situation where it is free for all.

States like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa which have abundant forest, water and mineral resources have
witnessed several cases of marginalization of communities (especially indigenous communities) by modern
development. Industrialisation, mining dam and other big infrastructure projects have led to a large scale
displacement of indigenous communities, affecting their livelihood and socio cultural milieu. Even in these states
government has not learned from other development projects and has promoted tourism from a very top down
perspective. Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand do not have tourism policy. In 2003, a group of people in Jharkhand, mostly
belonging to various indigenous communities from different districts in State, evolved the “Jharkhand Peoples’ Policy
on Sustainable Tourism”. The peoples’ policy includes benefit sharing of resources, access to natural resources and
provision of core team formed by communities, looking after planning, implementation and monitoring. This policy
was presented to the Department of Tourism, but so far no action has been taken by the government to incorporate
these suggestions.

From the previous analysis and table showing Schedule V areas in different states, it is evident from different state
governments’ policies, plans and promotional materials that concerns of communities, specifically tribal communities
have not been taken in account. Experiences of Nagarahole National Park in Karnataka reflect how tourism was given
priority over indigenous peoples’ livelihood. In the name
There has been a long-standing conflict between the of conservation of forests, there has been forced
indigenous community of India's Nagarahole National eviction of indigenous people, while ecotourism
Park in Karnataka, and the state forest department. considered as permissible activity. So, far none of the
But in 1996 it became a national issue when the states have considered Panchayat Extension in Schedule
Karnataka State Government leased out 56.41 acres of Areas (PESA) regulations in ecotourism development. It
forest land, along with infrastructure built by the is noticeable that most of the protected areas and other
Karnataka Forest Development Corporation, to Gateway tourist attractions (water fall, dam sites, trekking rote,
Hotels and Gateway Resorts Limited, a division of the hills etc) in various states fall within Schedule Areas and
Taj Group of Hotels. This land and infrastructure was yet ecotourism policies and plans are silent on this. The
leased for 18 years to launch a Rs.40 crore hotel role of Gram Sabha in approving any land acquisition is
project inside the National Park. The matter was taken key provision in PESA and all the policies have ignored
to the Supreme Court and the judgment went against such an important provision.
the construction of the hotel. Although the Adivasis of
Nagarahole have been successful in stalling the In Kataki village of Araku panchayats (Andhra Pradesh),
ecotourism project, the bigger fight, for self- there is a small water fall on the Gostani River. The
determination continues. Gram Sabha has taken steps to develop this as a tourist
attraction and has created basic infrastructure like
EQUATIONS, (1998). “A Chink of Light in the Indian pathways and stairs, check post etc. The Gram Sabha
Forest”, Tourism in Focus, Autumn Issue, No. 29. collects tolls from tourists and allows them to visit water
fall. This spot has gradually become popular among
tourists, who visit the Borra caves. Realising the revenue potential, the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development
Corporation (APTDC) has now planned to develop the waterfall area as a tourism product. What can be expected is
the control and benefits moving from the Gram Sabha to the state owned APTDC.

Institutional Frameworks and Governance Structures

The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Indian Constitution are a principle of statutory recognition of participatory
democracy, which is facilitated by the creation, functioning and empowerment of local self-governing institutions in
rural India through ‘Panchayats’11 and other local governing bodies e.g., Village Councils in the State of Nagaland,
and in urban India through ‘Municipalities’ and other urban local bodies. Under ‘empowerment of institutions of local
government’, Article 243-G of the Indian Constitution ‘directs the Central and State government machinery to endow
Panchayats and Municipalities with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as
institutions of self-government with respect to –
• The preparation of plans for economic development and social justice
• The implementation of schemes for economic development and social justice in relation to matters listed in
the Eleventh Schedule for Panchayats and Twelfth Schedule for all urban local bodies.’
With respect to tourism alone, it has been observed that a majority of tourism requirements rely on 29 subjects
vested with the rural and urban local governing bodies. The role of the local governing bodies, especially the
Panchayats, in deciding tourism development is given below:

Tourism development requires permissions from Panchayats for the following:

• Acquiring land for development projects, and rehabilitation and resettlement of persons affected by of any
projects undertaken in Scheduled areas are to be done in consultation with either the Gram Sabha or the
Panchayat at the appropriate level
• Regulation of land use and construction of buildings
• Sourcing of water from the region for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes
• Roads, culverts, bridges, ferries, waterways and other means of transport and communication built in the
• Minor forests produce (community resources) as resources belongs to them and they have acquired natural
right over it as a result of staying there for years
• Electrification
• To participate in cultural activities of the indigenous peoples without interfering with their rights

The Rights of the Panchayat are:
• To reject a license if the Tourism industry refuses to cooperate. This derives from the Panchayats duty and
right to provide for health and sanitation
• To question if the industry is indulging in exploitation of labour and natural resources
• Initiate criminal procedures if found catering to exploitation of women and children, including child labour
• To levy, collect and appropriate such taxes, duties, tolls and fess
• To be part of the preparation of plans for economic development and social justice.

There are however significant

One case in point is an ongoing dispute between an amusement park called
influences that have crippled the
‘Veegaland Amusement Park’ situated at Pallikkara (in the state of Kerala),
ability of Panchayats to function as
and the Kunnanthunnadu Grama Panchayat within whose limits the park is
rural self-governing institutions in
situated. The dispute involves the non-payment of entertainment tax by the
India. The success or failure of
park authorities to the Panchayat. While the park management argues that
Panchayat systems depends on its
the existing legislation does not apply to amusement parks thereby giving no
structure, powers, functions,
basis for charging the tax by the local body; the Panchayat has argued that it
leadership, finances and state
is fully empowered to do so and therefore the non-payment of taxes by the
control. There are several
park is an offence. The Panchayat members also argue that the park has not
instances from across the country
supported local enterprise and that not even one of its 157 permanent staff
where tourism establishments and
were from the locality. In lieu of the increasing legal hassles in the case, the
activities have been carried out
Government of Kerala passed an order preventing all Panchayats from
without the consent of local
spending more than Rs. 3000 on litigation (when the Kunnanthunnadu
governing bodies because of the
Grama Panchayat has already spent Rs 1,65,000 on the same). In such a
power play of other lobbies and
situation of conflict, it is unsure what kind of implications the GATS would
higher authorities which overrule
have. Had the tourism establishment in question been foreign owned and
its decisions. These have also led
governed by the GATS, its dispute with a local government would have
to serious legal disputes as well. A
caused serious complications. Situations such as these would seriously
lack of adequate transfer of
undermine the potency of local government authority and power to regulate
powers and resources to local
tourism establishments in their region.
governing bodies, inability of local
governing bodies to generate their
own resources and issues like non-representation of women and weaker / marginalized sections in elected bodies are
some issues that have handicapped the local governing institutions.

Therefore, the scope and mandate of globalisation to progressively liberalise trade in tourism and to pressurise
governments towards deregulation will impinge on such powers conferred on local governing bodies. In general
terms, the ability of central and local government to regulate economic activity in pursuit of social or environmental
goals is constrained.

It is also important to keep in mind that the WTO agreement is negotiated by national governments through their
trade delegations in Geneva. The existing regime provides no access for local governing bodies to the negotiating
table. This system therefore completely bypasses local governing institutions, which have the right and authority to
take informed decisions on the kind of development they would want. There are also serious legal complications that
could arise from this clash of jurisdictions. If, for example, the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism decides that an
Indian local governing body’s decision is incompatible under the Indian government’s commitments, the central
government would be forced to change locally evolved laws simply because they are WTO incompatible! Thus, local
governments are not party to the agreements but are subject to the full impact of commitments made under it.

Environmental issues
It is the rich natural heritage spread along the forests, mountains, coasts and rivers, all of which are the living spaces
of communities, which constitute the ‘tourism product’. Even Protected Areas, which have by definition prohibit
commercial activities, are now being seen as potential tourism areas12. It is the location of tourism, a resource-
intensive activity, in these areas that gives rise to a conflict of interests between the needs of local communities and
conservation with the needs of a consumer oriented industry which understands nature as an economic commodity.

The Ministry of Environment & Forests - Government of India took steps for the conservation of ecologically sensitive
areas in the form of protected areas: national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, community reserves and conservation
reserves under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and its subsequent amendments. The State Forest Departments of

many Indian states, including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa have planned to
develop ecotourism in many of these protected areas. In many cases, the operations involve the services of
indigenous / local communities in the form of guides and workers in lodges etc. While there are inherent problems in
the manner in which this form is ecotourism is done, e.g. largely driven by forest departments with little participation
of local governing bodies in decision making and benefits largely going to state exchequers, ecotourism is
nevertheless promoted as a conservation scheme.

Further, these protected areas are governed by national laws and some kind of regulation is provided. Examples of
such regulations could be limitations on the number of tourist volumes, prohibition of commercial operations like
resorts in side the protected areas or exclusive concessions given to particular firms in exchange for commitments to
develop areas in ecologically sensitive ways. These kind of limitations, even if they are applied so as not to
discriminate between local and foreign firms could be ruled as violating market access commitments of particular
countries under the GATS. Having local people participate is essential for conservation. But imposing requirements on
foreign firms to train and hire local people could fall foul of both market access and national treatment rules of the

Therefore, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has brought out the National Environment Policy, 2006, which is
totally pro-industry and pro-liberalization. The Environmental Impact Assessment Notification has been modified and
procedures for environmental clearance have been diluted. The matter is even more serious with the recent
Environment Impact Notification (EIA) 2006 excluding tourism projects from the requirement of EIA clearances. What
can be surmised from the series of events is that all this is being done for the purpose of facilitating private economic
interests rather than regulating activities that impact the environment in an undesirable manner.

The Ministry of Commerce has also embarked on the mission of creating special economic zones (SEZ) all over the
country. On the same lines, there have been proposals to create special tourism zones (STZ). As per the SEZ Act,
none of the sections lays down that environmental regulations are applicable on the units within SEZ. Rather the
wordings in Section 49 and the SEZ rules categorically state that SEZ areas are outside the purview of the
environmental regulations of the country. There are no provisions for monitoring of the cumulative environmental
impacts of all the units coming under one SEZ or periodic review of the ecological effects of the functioning of these
industries in such zones. The democratic spaces available to the people to decide on developments or voice their
dissent /consent to the projects under the available Environmental Clearance Regulations are not applicable to these

National environmental laws and policies

At the national level, there exist legal and policy frameworks that have the potential to regulate ecotourism.
However, there are problems with these as in some cases, like the Forest Act, 1980 they have been misused for the
sake of promoting ecotourism and in others, like the National Environment Policy, there are deliberate moves to open
up areas for ecotourism. What is important to note is that both the central and state policies and plans take no
account of these.

1. Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972: The word tourism occurs just once in the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972.
Tourism has come a long way since the time these laws were framed. There is thus an urgent need to make
amendments in the Act or at least bring out elaborate set of guidelines that define tourism and the way it
should be carried out in and around the protected areas.
2. Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980: Although this Act has the potential to regulate tourism development in
forest areas, there is an urgent need to clarify these matters in the context of implementation of this Act.
3. Environment (Protection) Act, 1986: Under this Act, there are two very important Notifications that are
closely linked to the development of ecotourism. These are the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991
and Environmental Impact Notification, 1994.
I. Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991: This is the most significant and specialised legislation guiding
anthropogenic activities along the coast. However, there are twenty amendments to the Notification over
the years that have diluted and rendered many of the protective clauses meaningless.
II. Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006: The new Notification has totally neglected
Environmental Impact Assessments for tourism projects and mentions tourism only in passing.
4. Policy Framework
I. National Environment Policy 2006: The Policy while promoting ecotourism in many fragile ecosystems
overlooks tourism as an impacting agent.

II. National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan: The plan deals with gross impacts of tourism activities in
major ecosystems and also focuses on principles in relation to tourism and biodiversity that need to be
adopted for the sake of conserving biodiversity. The Ministry of Environment & Forests has rejected the
Plan on grounds of it being unscientific whereas it was one the most participatory processes in Indian

The modifications to these environmental policies and laws are being made under structural adjustment programmes
funded by the World Bank.

They important values of sustainability that need to be adhered to during the course of tourism development are as
explained below.

Rights based approach – rights-holders and stakeholders

Apart from the international conventions mentioned above, the basis of the rights based approach in development of
tourism is the 73rd and 74th Amendment to the Constitution of India, which accords rights to local governing bodies
and Panchayats13, bringing into their jurisdiction matters related to land, water, socio-economic development,
infrastructure development, social welfare, social and urban forestry, waste management and maintenance of
community assets. Tourism development falls under the purview of these subjects and therefore, decision making
from the local governing bodies and Panchayats is important. The local governing bodies and Panchayats need to be
involved in all level of sustainable tourism development from approval of the project, to planning, implementing,
development, marketing, evaluating, monitoring, and research. The local governing bodies and Panchayats have the
right to formulate regulatory frameworks and the onus of ensuring compliance from the tourism industry would rest
on the State government and need to be drawn from the MEAs. The amendments also strengthen women’s
participation in decision-making through reservation in all levels of the 3-tier governance system. Their role in
charting the course of tourism development in accordance with community aspirations needs must be reinforced.

Sustainable development14 of tourism

Sustainable tourism development incorporates principles of conservation of natural resources and biodiversity;
rational utilisation of natural resource (land, water, conventional and non-conventional energy) for the creation and
maintenance of tourism infrastructure and facilities that are in coherence with the needs of local environment and
culture. Sustainable tourism is to respect the imperativeness of preserving genetic, species and ecosystem diversity
where it is developed, ensuring these diversities will not be in any way affected by tourism development,
infrastructure and facilities. Environment management systems will be put in place to monitor, evaluate and ensure
minimum waste generation as an indicator of rational natural resource utilisation for resource-intensive activities.
Requisite regulatory frameworks for resource use, control of pollution will be formulated and implemented in
association with local governing bodies and Panchayats. The regulatory framework needs to draw from the MEAs and
national laws pertaining to sustainable development and conservation of the environment (which India is signatory
to) and principles are extrapolated to suit the needs of the state and its geo-political units. The regulatory framework
will be made binding on the tourism industry.

Benefit- sharing
The onus of ensuring benefit-sharing mechanisms from the tourism industry will rest on the state government and
will be reflected in the state’s legislative and regulatory frameworks. Tourism development should ensure
participatory and benefit sharing mechanisms to include social, economic and political benefits to local communities,
and substantial benefits towards conservation to compensate for the costs on the environment. Tourism should
ensure the conservation of biodiversity and natural resources in their natural forms to as much extent as possible
through judicious resource utilization and substantial contribution of benefits by all stakeholders.
The application of sustainable tourism principles in practice has been worked out and the costs that will be incurred
for putting in the necessary infrastructure need to also be calculated.

You may reproduce this paper/publication in whole or in part for educational, advocacy or not-for-profit purposes. We
would appreciate acknowledging EQUATIONS as the source and letting us know of the use.

Contact us
+91-80-2545-7607 / 2545-7659
EQUATIONS, # 415, 2C-Cross, 4th Main, OMBR Layout, Banaswadi, Bangalore 560043, India

• Bandy, Joe (1996). “Managing the other of nature: sustainability, spectacle, and global regimes of capital in Ecotourism”.
Public Culture Vol.8, No.3 Spring 1996.
• Department for International Development (2004). “Strategy for Tourism in Orissa – Baseline Paper”. August.
• EQUATIONS (1997). “Development and Sustenance of Coastal Tourism in India”, EQUATIONS, Bangalore. November.
• _____. (1999) “Tourism at the Cross roads - Challenges to Developing countries by the New World Trade Order”, epd-
Entwicklungspolitick and Tourism Watch, p41-42.
• _____. (2000). “Briefings on the GATS: Paper for the National Conference on Human Rights, Social Movements,
Globalisation and the Law”, Panchgani, December.
• _____. (2001a). “Liberalising Tourism under the GATS - pitfalls for Developing Countries”, Paper presented at the ‘At
Whose Service?’ Conference, Bonn, May.
• _____. (2001b). “The Role Of Panchayats And Tourism”, EQUATIONS Working Paper.
• _____. (2001c). “Trade in Tourism through The GATS – Interests of Developing Countries at Stake”, Paper presented at the
World Forum on the WTO, Beirut, November.
• _____. (2004). “Veegaland Amusement Park – Enterprise vs Regulation? An Investigative Report”, June 2004.
• _____. (2005a). A WTO-GATS Tourism Impact Assessment Framework for Developing Countries. EQUATIONS, Banglore.
• _____. (2005b). “CBD – Biological Diversity and Tourism Guidelines - The Controversy Continues”. EQUATIONS, Bangalore.
• Government of India. (1998). “Ecotourism in India – Policy and Guidelines”. Ministry and Tourism, New Delhi.
• _____. (2004). “Draft National Policy on Tribals”, Ministry of Tribal Affairs: New Delhi, February.
• Government of Chhattisgarh. Official website: <http://chhattisgarh.nic.in/tourism/tourism1.htm> Data retrieved October
• Government of Jharkhand. Official website: <http://jharkhand.nic.in/governance/indpolicy.htm#tourism> Data retrieved
October 2006.
• Government of Madhya Pradesh. Official website <http://www.mptourism.com/wn/ecopolicy.pdf> Data retrieved October
• Government of Maharashtra. Official website
• Technical and Policy Core Group and Kalpavriksh. 2005. Securing India's Future: Final Technical Report of the National
Biodiversity Strategy Strategy and Action Plan. Prepared by the NBSAP Technical and Policy Core Group. Kalpavriksh,

Internet resources
• http://www.world-tourism.org/frameset/frame_sustainable.html
• http://www.world-tourism.org/sustainable/IYE/WTO-UNEP-Concept-Paper.htm
• http://www.johannesburgsummit.org/html/documents/summit_docs/2309_planfinal.doc
• http://aotearoa.wellington.net.nz/framed.htm
• http://www.unwto.org/code_ethics/pdf/languages/Codigo%20Etico%20Ing.pdf
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orissa

End Notes

1 http://www.world-tourism.org/frameset/frame_sustainable.html
2 http://www.world-tourism.org/sustainable/IYE/WTO-UNEP-Concept-Paper.htm
3 http://www.johannesburgsummit.org/html/documents/summit_docs/2309_planfinal.doc
4 http://aotearoa.wellington.net.nz/framed.htm
5 http://www.unwto.org/code_ethics/pdf/languages/Codigo%20Etico%20Ing.pdf
6 International Guidelines for activities related to sustainable tourism development in vulnerable terrestrial, marine and coastal
ecosystems and habitats of major importance for biological diversity and protected areas, including fragile riparian and mountain
7 The granting of observer status mandated under para 31(ii) of the Doha Declaration is negotiated in the CTE’s special sessions.
8 Official website of Chhattisgarh Government (http://chhattisgarh.nic.in/profile/corigin.htm )
9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orissa
10 In Maharashtra, the Home Department (Tourism) had come up with a “New Package Scheme of Incentives for Tourism Projects –
2000”. The Maharashtra State Government had earlier declared the “New Package Scheme of Incentive for Tourism Projects, 1999”
vide Government Resolution and this came to an end with effect from 30th June, 2000. The new package scheme was introduced in

2000 to boost up the tourism industry in the state on similar lines. The scheme was supposed to come into operation with effect
from 01.07.2000 and remain in force up to 31.03.2005 or until substituted by a new package scheme of incentives.

11 Market access is the negotiated commitment made by each member in specified sectors. It is one of the key principles of the
xi The word Panchayat originally signifies Council of five (panch) Village Elders.
xii The State Tourism Ministers Conference in 1996 that chalked out guidelines for the development of eco-tourism had identified the
following resources for tourism development: Biosphere Reserves, Mangroves, Corals and Coral Reefs, Deserts, Mountains and
Forests, Flora and Fauna, and Sea, Lakes & Rivers. (for details of the conference see EQUATIONS 1997)

xiii The Constitutional Amendment devolves powers to the people at the grassroots and the Local Governing Bodies & Panchayats
are considered as the elected representatives at the first level of governance at the local level.
xiv After the 1972 UN Conference on World Environment in Stockholm, the World Commission on Environment and Development in
1987 came up with a statement on the meaning of sustainable development: ‘development that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’


1. Eco-tourism in Chhattisgarh
With 12% share of India’s forests, Chhattisgarh’s 3 National Parks and 11 Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks are
a major attraction. It has several virgin attractions in protected areas such as Kanger Valley National Park,
Barnawapara, Sitanadi, Udanti and Achanakmar Sanctuaries. The endangered Wild Buffalo (Bubalis bubalis) and the
even more endangered Hill Myna (Graculis religiosa peninsularis) are the State Animal and State Bird respectively.
The State has taken several steps for their preservation. Natural attractions are being promoted with increased local
participation and encouragement to herbal gardens and natural health resorts. The mystique of aboriginal tribal
ethno-medicine which predates even Ayurveda has been preserved and practised over the millenia. Mainpat
(Surguja), Keshkal valley (Kanker), Chaiturgarh (Bilaspur), Bagicha (Jashpur), Kutumbsar caves, Kailash caves,
Tirathgarh falls, Chitrakot falls (Bastar) are all exhilarating destinations being promoted for nature and wildlife
tourism. Wildlife areas, camping grounds and trekking facilities would be few of the prime attractions.


Department Of Tourism - Government Of Madhya Pradesh

The Government of Madhya Pradesh had announced its Tourism Policy in 1995, which had, as one of its major
objectives, the promotion of Eco and Adventure Tourism. The importance of tourism and the benefits derived from it
are well known. With changing times, interests of tourists have also changed requiring development of newer varied
forms of tourism. Today's tourist is not content with cultural or religious tourism alone - the tourist today looks for
some thrill, fun, adventure and something other than the routine. In keeping with this change in attitude of tourists,
the State Government has decided to actively promote Eco-Tourism and Adventure Tourism. In order to popularise
and develop these forms of tourism, Government is, for the first time, seeking participation of private investors. It
would be appropriate to mention here that EcoTourism is that form of tourism in which the tourist is able to enjoy
nature and see wild life in its natural habitat in quiet and serene surroundings.

Adventure tourism provides the tourist with a special thrill and feeling of adventure whilst participating in sporting
activities in rivers, water bodies and hills and mountains. Madhya Pradesh with its richly endowed natural
environment, unexploited so far, has immense potential for such sports. Instead of depending on its limited
resources, the State Government has decided to open up this sector for private participation for optimum utilization of
these natural resources. While on the one hand, with these efforts, Government hopes to attract tourists in larger
numbers, on the other hand, it is expected that it would help in generating greater demand for local products, and
creating new employment avenues for the local communities. In order to attract private participation, the State
Government has finalized a set of simplified guidelines which are hassle free and would make it easy for an
entrepreneur to conform with.

Salient Features

1. The main activities connected with Eco and Adventure Tourism which are to be promoted with private participation
are listed in Annexure-I.
2. The locations, identified for launching Eco and Adventure Tourism activities initially on a trial basis, are listed in
Annexure-I I. Apart from these locations, the entrepreneur is free to come up with his own sites, subject to
Government approval.
3. The locations determined initially for Eco and Adventure Tourism activities have been classified in three categories
A, B and C, depending on their accessibility and potential viability, and are given in Annexure- III.

Development of Eco/Adventure Tourism in Madhya Pradesh

4. A Letter of Intent will be issued by the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh to private entrepreneurs after taking security
deposit of Rs. 50,000/- per hectare. This will enable the entrepreneur to carry out the pre-determined Eco and
Adventure Tourism activities at identified locations. The validity, of the Letter of Intent, would be one year from the
date to issue.

I. The Letter of Intent issued to the entrepreneur will entitle the entrepreneur to enter the identified location
and make necessary arrangements to launch and conduct Eco and Adventure Tourism activities in
accordance with Government guidelines.
II. Within 9 months from the date of receiving the Letter of Intent, the enterpreneur will have to submit a
detailed project report to the Department of Tourism on the Eco/Adventure activities to be conducted and
the works to be undertaken.
III. The project report submitted by the entrepreneur would be examined within a time frame of three months
(before the expiry ot the Letter of Intent) and a final decision taken. In the event of the application being
finally approved, the plot of land/building applied for, will be given to the entrepreneur on a lease of 30
years at prescribed rates.
IV. The amount of security deposit will be adjusted against the premium due only after acceptance of the
application. The premium and annual lease rent rates are shown in AnnexureIV.
V. The amount of annual lease rent will be increased by 50% every ten years.

5. While considering proposals, projects of less density would be given preference. Whilst sanctioning projects, the
commercial viability of existing projects at the same location will be taken into account.
I. Private entrepreneurs will have to apply in the prescribed format (Annexure V). The application must
clearly and specifically mention the activities proposed to be undertaken at the identified locations.
II. The applications will be addressed to Principal Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Department of
Tourism, Mantralaya, Bhopal.
III. The applications will be considered on "First Come, First Served" basis.
IV. The applications received will be scrutinised following a prescribed procedure and selections will be made.
V. The selected applicant will be issued a Letter of Intent. The Letter of Intent will be valid for a period of
one year.
VI. A security deposit ~ Rs. 50,000/- (Rs. Fifty Thousand) per hectare for the land applied for, will have to be
deposited by the applicant before receiving the Letter of Intent. This amount will not be refunded. In case
the entrepreneur is finally given the lease atter his project report is accepted, the security deposit will be
adjusted against the premium for the land/building.
VII. The applicant will have to submit a detailed project report of the proposed scheme within 9 months from
the date of issue of the Letter of Intent, failing which the LOI will lapse.
VIII. The Letter of Intent will authorize the applicant to enter the location and also to make
initial/preliminary arrangements for launch of activities as per the proposed scheme in consonance with
the instructions from the Government.
IX. While preparing the project report, the entrepreneur will have to make the following provisions
compulsorily. ''
i. Detailed description of the construction work connected with the activity in the field of Eco and
Adventure Tourism.
ii. Clear mention of the arrangements to be made for disposing of solid and liquid waste.
iii. Details of trails to be constructed for hiking, trekking, walking.
iv. A clear action plan for conservation and management of the allotted land.
v. A site development plan.

Procedure for Private Sector Participation

6. The extent to which weightage of importance is being given to the points listed below when the project becomes
I. The extent of use of locally available foodstuffs and locally produced items.
II. Percentage of job opportunities for the local residents
III. Use and promotion of non-conventional energy.
IV. Measures to be taken for ensuring that ecological balance and carrying capacity is maintained and not
adversely affected under any circumstances.

7. The project report will be accepted/rejected at government level.

8. On acceptance of the scheme, the entrepreneur will have to deposit prescribed premium and annual lease rent.
The security amount deposited earlier would be adjusted against the premium.

9. The proposed site will be given on a lease for 30 years.
10. Other things being equal, projects of low density tourist intake will be given preterence.
11. The lease deed shall have the clause that if the entrepreneur tails to construct the tourist facilities as per the
project report, within two years, the lease will be deemed void.

A. Except for camp fire use, the use of wood as fuel would be prohibited. The wood for making camp fires will have to
be procured from depots of the Forest Department.
B. The facilities constructed under the scheme and the land/building allotted for the scheme will not be allowed to be
diverted for any other use.

Facilities to be given to successful Applicants

1. The vehicles mentioned in the project report for transporting tourists to visit the identified location will enjoy an
exemption from transport taxes for a period of 5 years. This will be considered to be a 'sunset facility' and it will
expire automatically after 5 years.

2. To operate liquor shops in the identified location the following concessions will be given in FL3 Licence fee.
2.1 No concessions for locations within a radius of 5 kms from the outer limit of municipal areas with population of 3
lakh and above.
2.2 In areas other than the above:
A- Category areas: 10% discount in licence fee
B- Category areas: 25 °I° discount in licence fee
C- Category areas: 50 % discount in licence tee

3. The current norm of having a minimum of ten rooms for guests in a hotel and certain other conditions applicable
for FL 3 licence will be relaxed.

Annexure - I
Selected Activities for Development of Eco and Adventure Tourism in Madhya Pradesh
1. Camping
2. Trekking
3. Angling
4. Water sports
5. Elephant Safari
6. Cycle Safari
7. Riding Trail
8. Photo Safari
9. Canoeing Safari
10. White Water Rafting
11. Rock Climbing/Mountaineering
12. Para Sailing/Para Gliding
13. Hot Air Ballooning

Annexure - II
Identified Places in the State on experimental basis for development of Eco and Adventure Tourism

Proposed Activities Place/Spot

1. Camping, Trekking, 1. Area adjacent to Satpura National

2. Elephant safari 1. Area adjacent to Panna National
2. Area adjacent to Pench National

2. Water Sports
1. Tawa Project, Distt. Hoshangabad
2. Kaliasot Project, Distt. Bhopal.
3. Halali Project, Distt. Raisen
4. Barna Project, Distt. Raisen
5. Gandhi Sagar Project, Distt. Mandsaur
6. Tigra Project, Distt. Gwalior
7. Harsi Project, Distt. Gwalior
8. Mohini Sagar Project, Distt. Shivpuri
9. Kolar Project, Distt. Sehore
10. Rani Avanti Bai Project, Distt. Jabalpur

3. Canoeing Safari/White Water Rafting

1. River Narmada
2. River Tons
3. River Chambal
4. River Ken
5. River Son

4. Rock Climbing and Mountaineering

1. Pachmarhi Escarpment Distt. Hoshangabad
2. Raisen Fort
3. Gwalior Fort
4. Narwar Fort
5. Asirgarh Fort

5. Para Sailing/Para Gliding/Hot Air Ballooning

1. Pachmarhi Escarpment
2. Tamia to Patalkot
3. Mandu
4. Wanchu Point
5. Raisen Fort

Annexure - III
1. Adjoining Area of Satpura National Park
2. Kaliasot, Distt. Sehore
3. Halali Project, Distt. Raisen
4. Mohini Sagar Project, Distt. Shivpuri
5. Pachmarhi Escarpment (Pachmarhi-ChouragarhDhoopgarh-Bada
6. Mahadeo-Rajendragiri)
7. Gwalior Fort

1. Tawa Project, Distt. Hoshangabad
2. Bargi Project, Distt. Raisen
3. Tigra Project, Distt. Gwalior
4. Kolar Project, Distt. Sehore.

5. Rani Avanti Bai Project, Distt. Jabalpur
6. Mandu, Distt. Dhar

1. Narwar Fort, Distt. Shivpuri
2. Asirgarh Fort, Distt. Khandwa
3. Raisen Fort
4. Wanchu Point
5. Tamia to Patalkot
6. Harsi Project, Distt. Gwalior
7. Adjoining Areas of Panna National Park
8. Adjoining Areas of Pench National Park
9. Gandhi Sagar Project, Distt. Mandsaur

Annexure - IV
Sl. No. Premium **Annual Lease Rent
Place of A Category Rs. 2.50 lakh/ha. Rs. 12500/ha.
Place of B Category Rs. 1 .25 lakh/ha. Rs. 6250/ha
Place of C Category Rs. 0.75 lakh/ha. Rs. 3750/ha.

The following rates will apply to existing constructed areas/Rest Houses constructed by the Water Resources
Place of A Category Rs. 100 per Rs. 5 per sq.ft.
Place of B Category Rs. 50 per sq.ft. Rs. 2.50 per sq.ft.
Place of C Category Rs. 25 per sq.ft Rs. 1.25 per sq.ft.

**Note - The amount of lease rent will be increased by 50% after every 10 years.

List of abbreviations used:
IYE International Year of Ecotourism (2002)
CBD Convention on Biological Diversity
MEA Multilateral Environmental Agreements
MoT Ministry of Tourism
UNWTO United Nations World Tourism Organization
GATS General Agreement on Trade in Services
WTO World Trade Organization