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Tourism in Kullu Valley
Problems and Prospects of Sustainability -
Outlook

 
by Ben Heron
benheron@ecosse.net

I have tried to illustrate how tourism can be used to benefit local communities, but it also acts as a warning that local people should not become dependent upon it. Tourism is not a reliable resource and cannot be controlled by local people. For example, the international publicity about the missing and murdered foreigners around the Kullu valley has caused a significant drop in the number of tourists visiting the region during the last couple of years.

Many families' livelihoods depend on the arrival of tourists, so if the tourists do not arrive, they have no source of income and no food on the table. Similarly, the tourist industry in Kashmir has been ruined by its political problems and all those who used to depend on it for their livelihoods have been forced to find other sources of income.

On a larger scale still, if sustainable alternatives to oil are not developed in the next forty or fifty years, the entire global industry will come to an end, and all those that depend upon it will find themselves in a very serious situation. In order for tourism to be sustainable, it needs to recognise the importance of using its profits to fund other areas of sustainable development such as planting trees, recycling waste and creating ecological awareness.

Tourism can help fund research into developing renewable energy sources such as solar panels and small-scale hydro-turbines, which would provide power for alternative methods of heating during the winter and reduce the need for firewood. In this way, tourism can help communities be self-determined, self-sufficient and sustainable - local people will be in control of their own lives and the lives of future generations.


 

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