The Ministry of tourism adopts environmental sustainability as one of the key principles of sustainable tourism as laid down by UNWTO. It will entail optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.
Protection of biological diversity is an important part of environmental sustainability. There is need to support the conservation of natural areas, habitats and wildlife, and minimize damage to them. This is an area where the positive and negative impacts of tourism can be felt most strongly. All ecosystems, whether mountains, deserts, rainforests, wetlands or inland waters, have their own special sensitivities which need to be considered when planning for tourism activities.
Ministry of Tourism recognizes economic sustainability as a key principle for sustainable tourism as laid down by UNWTO. In order to achieve economic sustainability, there is need to ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation.
Sustainable tourism aims to respect and enhance the historic heritage, authentic culture, traditions and distinctiveness of host communities. Respect for, and understanding of, cultural diversity between nations and peoples is a key principle of sustainable development. Tourism can be a considerable force for the conservation of historic and cultural heritage and can stimulate arts, crafts and other creative activities within communities.
In order to mainstream sustainability in tourism sector, it is important to measure the adoption of principles of sustainable tourism in various destinations, products and industry whether accommodation providers or tour operators. Ministry of Tourism has adopted Sustainable Tourism Criteria of India based on global practices adopted to the needs of the country.
Sustainable and responsible tourism is an evolving area and there is great need for a well-planned Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign to create awareness, understanding and acceptance of sustainable tourism amongst all stakeholders. The campaign will have to be spearheaded by the Central Government and State Governments with full support of the industry and other Stakeholders including local government functionaries, forest and wildlife officials, local communities and non-government organizations working in the field.
Ministry of Tourism will prepare a detailed National Action Plan in consultation with relevant Ministries, State Governments and Industry Stakeholders for implementation of the Strategy. The Action plan will be reviewed and monitored in accordance with the laid down governance mechanism for the same. State Governments will prepare State specific policy and action plan for development of sustainable tourism. The Ministry will help with model policies and action plans for guidance of the States.