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 Tourism in Kullu Valley
 Problems and Prospects of Sustainability

 
by Ben Heron
benheron@ecosse.net

Tourism is now the world's biggest industry and it is expected to grow much larger. Tourists are always looking for new places to visit and the governments of less-developed countries continue to pursue foreign exchange, investment, employment and economic growth.

On the surface, tourism may seem like a beneficial trade; the tourists enjoy their holidays and the host countries enjoy "economic growth", but it is not as simple as that. There are many knock-on effects, both positive and negative, which largely depend on the attitudes and approaches taken by those that participate in and control the industry.

Unfortunately, very few people know much about the negative consequences of tourism, so the industry has become more geared towards making short-term profits than ensuring long-term sustainability. This has created many problems that are especially evident in less developed countries where large numbers of Western tourists can put a great strain on the hosts' limited resources and can cause significant changes to the hosts' culture.

The essential prerequisite for sustainability is "to be able to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". Many host communities in less developed countries are attempting to meet the needs of a growing number of Western tourists as well as their own needs, something that often cannot be done without jeopardizing the resources of future generations. As a result, host populations and tourist enterprises are often in danger of unwittingly destroying the very things that attract tourists in the first place, not just the hosts' natural environment, but also their way of life and culture.


 

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