Journal of Tourism Research & HospitalityISSN: 2324-8807

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Research Article, J Tourism Res Hospitality Vol: 10 Issue: 7

Eco-Tourism: An Option for Sustainable Livelihood in Uttarakhand to Reduce Out Migration

Ashok Kumar Sahani*

G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment, Garhwal Regional Centre, Srinagar, Garhwal-266174, Uttarakhand

*Corresponding Author:
Ashok Kumar Sahani
G. B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment, Garhwal Regional Centre, Srinagar, Garhwal-266174, Uttarakhand
Tel: +919720069410

Received Date: May 13, 2019; Accepted Date: July 19, 2021; Published Date: July 26, 2021

Citation: Sahani AK (2021) Eco-Tourism: An Option for Sustainable Livelihood in Uttarakhand to Reduce Out Migration. J Tourism Res Hospitality 10:7.

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Keywords: Eco-tourism


United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO, 1988) has defined sustainable tourism as “leading to management of all resources in such a way that economics, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support system.”

Eco-tourism to this paper focused on a sustainable eco-tourism, an integrated with spiritual, rural, adventure and community based tourism and generate employments opportunity at local communities and alleviates poverty in remote areas in Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand is known all over India and also world as a place of magnificent natural beauty along with pilgrim destination of Hindus and other religion. Beneath the scenic state of Uttarakhand, which is known for its great Himalayan mountain range, rivers and tourist spots, lies a painful reality of poverty and unemployment and resulting discrimination and out migration.

Tourism is one of the biggest and fastest-growing economic sectors in the global economy and also world’s largest growing industry and has significant environmental, cultural, social, and economic effects, both positive and negative. The main objectives of our study are formation of tourist circuits, promotion of eco-tourism, village tourism and find out the problems and suggest a suitable plan for sustainable tourism development in Uttarakhand. And promote and initiate such a local custom and traditional foods, dishes, culture, folklore, handicrafts, architecture heritage and etc which have high value at local communities but yet to set proper recommendation. Sustainable tourism can be taken in four different interpretations that include socio-economic sustainability of tourism, the ecologically sustainable tourism, sustainable tourism development with both focus of environment as well as long term practicability of the industry and finally tourism as a part of a strategy for sustainable development. Therefore, the purpose of this research or study is to adopt integrated approach and establishment of new plans for the sustainable development of tourism in Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand has one high scope of tourism destination in the field of pilgrimage, nature tourist, adventure tourism, honeymoon destination, cultural tourism & after all community based tourism. The state share and contribute almost half (49.6%) of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and as income from tourism. Though the state has the immense potential of various type of tourism, but the state is famous of spiritual/religion tourism and in some extent adventures tourism. But the community based tourism is yet to explore.


Tourism is one of the world’s most durable and dynamic sectors, but according to Mow forth and Munt [1] there is always a dark side. Natural and Protected areas (National Park, Sanctuary) have been in touristic demand since the 1970’s. Uttarakhand is rich in natural resources especially water (through snow-clad and forest recharged) and forests with many glaciers, rivers, dense forests and snow-clad mountain peaks. The state has a vast tourism potential in adventure, leisure, and after all pilgrimage which may link to eco-tourism. The importance of Sustainable Tourism worldwide has increased significantly due to the impact of increased human activity on climate and natural areas (Protected and Un-protected). Nevertheless, it is necessary that the negative impact of the Tourism industry is not enlarged unrealistically. Full advantage can then be drawn from the potential of tourism for inclusive growth, with livelihood support to the poor, most disadvantaged, women and youth. Mass tourism is generally perceived as problematic, destructive to the environment and insensitive. Therefore, as tourism and its environmental impact grows, so does criticism. Growing environmental concern, combined with a general dissatisfaction with such forms of tourism, led to increased demand for sustainable tourism [1].

The tourism is already developed in this region but tourists facing lot of problems (like proper road network and social infrastructure) by which the eco-tourism is not developed as par with the other regions of India like South region. In Uttarakhand there is potentiality to develop the tourism industry and it is playing a major role for generate revenue and employment at local level of certain areas. Tourists wish to see new places which are close to nature and away from hustle and bustle of city. So the new concepts in tourism have been emerged like ecotourism, new age tourism, village tourism, rural tourism, health tourism, medical tourism after all community based tourism. In Uttarakhand the pollution is least as par with other states in India, so that is why there is enough potential and have a future development of eco-tourism in this region. To achieve the heights in the development of tourism in Uttarakhand sustainable eco-tourism development through integrated planning is needed.

The organize pilgrimage and adventure tourism in Uttarakhand which has been conducted by many institutions, government departments and other efforts are being made in this area. But the question that arises is what the efforts to develop eco-tourism model through which can boost the local people’s income as possible. ‘Prevent migration of people from Mountain Areas in view of environmental problems as well as to make them aware about Natural and Environmental Protection and conservation. The condition and direction of tourism should not only focus for generate revenue but also create job opportunity to the local communities and for environmental protection and conservation has to be motivated. It may be possible only when local communities advance the socioeconomic and adding us aside from tourism that tourist will enjoy local arts, music, handlooms, traditional housing and they will understand their living conditions and daily routine life for livelihood and on the other hand local community to environmental protection will benefit financially as well as create more livelihoods opportunity and will continue to rise. At the community level, many such attempts are being made and being given such a boost to tourism. Home Stay, Village tours and trekking from village tourism can thus understand the circumstances in which tourist will be able to learn to be in tune with Nature and will become a source of livelihood for the local people and the local people will also promote tourism with environmental and natural conservation.

Sustainable tourism is a concept that tries to overcome environmental, social and economic pitfalls associated with mass tourism. Landscapes are often irreversibly transformed into leisure areas, local culture is often commercialized, crime rates rise and young people throw away their villages to find employment in the centers of tourism. Moreover, there is widespread inflation due to tourism. Hence, an increase in sustainable packages means that the environment and nature take center stage in the holiday consumption, production and marketing. A great number of alternative forms of tourism have been developed in the last decade. There are numerous names used to characterize typologies of environmentally friendly tourists. Nature-based tourism, sustainable tourism, alternative tourism, green tourism, responsible tourism, soft tourism, ecotourism, village tourism and home stay are often used and in line with the general development and get financial earning from other resources in tourism. Meric and Hunt [2] argue that the rising interest in ecotourism is a result of the negative impacts mass tourists have had on the environment.

Scope of Tourism in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is a state in north Indian region of Himalayas. The state is popularly known as Devbhoomi (land of Gods) due to the numerous Hindu pilgrimage sites [3]. Therefore, a major portion of the tourism is religion form of tourism in the state. The major attraction of pilgrim tourism is Char Dham which means journey to four religion centers are represented by Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri, Panch Kedar (Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar, Kalpeshwar), Panch Prayag (Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnprayag, Nandprayag, Vishnuprayag). The world famous Corbett National Park and the World heritage Valley of Flower and Nanda Devi Biosphere also situated in Uttarakhand which is major attraction segment of nature lover and researcher [4]. The entire hilly region of the Uttarakhand has lot to offer for adventurous, water sports game and activities, natural tourism, sustainable tourism, pilgrim tourism, spiritual tourism, natural areas trekking and etc. some important hill station are Mussorie, Nainital, Uttarkashi, New Tehri Ranikhet, Kausaani, Chamba and etc where tourist can travel all over year. Some tourist destination famous for all over year travelling, the list of tourist destination in the state is the given Table 1.

Table 1: Status of Tourism in Uttarakhand.

S.N. Activities/ Station Destination
1. Hill Station Almora, Auli, Bhimtaal, Mussorie, Chakrata, Chamba, Chopta, Dhanaulti, Dwarhat,Kausani, Khirsu, Dodital, Dayara Bugyal, Harsil, Pauri, New Tehri, Ranikhet, Sattal, Ramgarh, Uttarkashi, Narendranagar, Nainital, Pithoragarh and more
2. Wild life (sanctuaries and National Parks) Corbett National Park, Gangotri National Park, Rajaji, Binsar, Ascot, Nanda Devi, Valley of Flower and more
3. Pilgrim Station Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamnotri, Devprayag, Tungnath, Aadibadri, Kailas Mansarover, Surkanda, Chandrabadni, Rishikesh, Haridwar Joshimath, Karnprayag, Hemkund Sahib Gaurikund, Gangolihat, Gangnani and more
4. Adventurous station Rishikesh, Kaudiyala, Shivpuri, Devprayag, New Tehri, Tehri Dam, Auli, Bedni Bugyal, Govind Ghat, Hanuman Chatti, Har ki Doon, Deoria Tal, Pindari Glacier and more

Status of Tourism in Uttarakhand

In Uttarakhand or Uttaranchal tourism is the most significant segment of the state’s economy. About 50% of the state is associated with at least some part of the Uttarakhand tourism industry. Lakhs of tourist visit Uttarakhand every year to enjoy the celestial beauty of the land. Uttarakhand has a rich and exotic flora and fauna and is an idle location for eco and wildlife tourism. The lush green forests here are abundant with pine, oak, rhododendron, juniper and birch trees [5].

Ever since the formation of the new State in the beginning of the last decade, tourism, hospitality and trade sector has shown an upward trend in its contribution to the State GDP. As per our estimates, the total human resource requirement for tourism, hospitality and trade sector in 2012 is approximately 0.30 million, which is expected to grow to 0.45 million in 2017, and 0.69 million in 2022. Incremental manpower requirement for Tourism, Hospitality and Trade sector during next 10 years will be 0.39 million (growth of 18.9 percent or second highest). Sector’s share in total human resource requirement is currently 7.9 percent and is expected to grow to 9.7 percent and 11.7 percent in 2017 and 2022 respectively. Dehradun, Haridwar and Nainital will generate majority of the demand whereas other hill Districts will also contribute significantly provided the State Government continues to support infrastructure development activities and maintain a sustained focus on growth of tourism and trade in these Districts [6].


It is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the wellbeing of local people (TIES).

• Goal conservation

• Authentic natural and cultural experience

• Demands Knowledge

• Participation and local benefits

Ecotourism is a potentially effective strategy for biodiversity conservation.

• Jobs and increased income

• Awareness understanding and public support

• Skills

• Revenues for PAs & Govt.

Ecotourism Promotion

To promote eco-tourism of our experiments may have been adopted

• Destinations that have some semblance of ecotourism

• Variety of scale i.e.

1. Village level

2. PA level

3. State level

4. Landscape level

• Interpretative publications, based on research, explore frontiers of design

• Help from Google maps, information fed on Google Earth

Tehri Garhwal is one of the western most district of the Uttarakhand State (Former Uttar Pradesh) located on the outer ranges of the mid Himalayas which comprise low line peaks rising contiguously with the planes of the northern India. The district lies between the parallels of 30.3` and 30.53` north latitude and 77.56` and 79.04` east longitude. The district of Tehri Garhwal stretches from the snow clad Himalayan peaks of Thalaiya Sagar, Jonli and the Gangotri group all the way to the foothills near Rishikesh. The gushing Bhagirathi which runs through seems to divide the district into two, while the Bhilangna Alaknanda, Ganga and Yamuna Rivers border it on the east and west. Its immediate neighboring districts are Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Pauri, Rudraprayag and Dehradun. A major portion of the district is having hilly tract. The plain area is more fertile than the plateau area. Bulk of the area of the district is under forest which occupies a place of importance not only in the ecology but also in the economy of the district. These forests are rich in vegetation’s. Wood of commercial value is produced. These forests are also famous for production of herbs and plants of medicinal value. There has been a denudation of forests in the past, resulting in impoverishment of forests wealth. Under five year plans efforts have been made to plant trees under forestations programmed. Availability of soft wood has given rise to the manufacturing of wooden toys in the area.

Tiwar Gaon is situated on the bank of Tehri dam and it is 15 kms. Far from Chamba (Tourist destination) where scenic beauty of lake is magnificence and has lots of potential for tourism activities. There are 92 families live whereas 550 total population live wherein 296 and 254 are male and female respectively. Mostly people are engaged in agriculture work and youth are mostly engaged in hotel industry. As per census index literacy rate of the villagers is 77% wherein 85% and 68% literacy rate of male and female respectively (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Scenic view of Tehri Lake from Tiwardgaon (study area village) and stake holder meeting.

There are lots of possibilities for tourism and more scope for every type of Tourism in Uttarakhand Mostly at the community level, such as home stay, village tour tourism, trekking, paragliding, white river rafting, skating, boating, camping on natural areas, birds watching and so on, can be promoted and the local people to be aware for conservation and protection of the environment through generate livelihood resources at local level (Figure 2). Still, given the recent survey of the situation during heavy disaster in Badrinath valley, tourism promotion as well as environmental protection and conservation is becoming more difficult. Given the location of religious beliefs on Char Dham Yatra has had the most impact and environmental effects also appear at these places is going on. This may be due to human activities such as more pressure on eco-sensitive places, not be right and proper management of garbage disposal, encroachment, infrastructure etc. are affecting the tourism along with imbalance of environment (Table 2).

Figure 2: Recommendation for circuit plan in Tehri Garhwal with Haridwar and Dehradun.

Table 2: Stakeholders group for the development of sustainable tourism.

Private Sector
Entrepreneur/ Official
Tourism related Non-tourism related
  • Tour operator
  • Transportation provider
  • Hotelier
  • Service provider
  • Restaurant
  • Retailers
  • Shops/handicrafts
  • Farming
  • Attraction provider
  • Small industry

Major affecting factors of tourism in Uttarakhand:

As per our observation and the view of tourists and locals, there are plenty of factors which can affect tourism in Uttarakhand wherein land slide, heavy rain during rainy season, cloudburst, and well infrastructure facilities are the major affecting factors of tourism in Uttarakhand. Besides of it some more factors can effects tourism in Uttarakhand which is given below (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Tourist Circuit plan.

■ Transportation (old condition buses, bad and zig-zag roads)

■ Accommodation facilities

■ Accessibility

■ Shopping and mall facilities

■ Service and safety ( like: catering, entertainment, safety)

■ Cost related factors (due to import from outside of state)

■ Well and experienced tour operator

■ Overall satisfaction in natural and scenic beauty Suggestion on the basis of observation and from tourist:

■ Improve roads and transportation facilities

■ Proper management of garbage disposal and maintain the environment in certain place.

■ More parking spaces where tourism activity are going on and enjoying.

■ Clinics and hospitality must be provided

■ Non-exploitation by local and stakeholders

■ Playground and walking lane should be develop

■ Entertainment (either traditional or global) facilities for tourist

■ Emphasize to promote and initiate to add local dishes in menu

■ Publicize local tradition and handicraft

■ Emphasize to promote community base tourism for reduce tourist pressure from other tourism destination and create job opportunity for the local people.

■ Priority to be accorded to local initiatives, especially institutional creation of Village Tourism Development Committee (VTDC), SHGs, Community Base Tourism (CBT), home-stays etc.

Conclusion and Recommendation

This paper has indicated the potential of sustainable tourism as well as community base tourism to generate financial and socioeconomical benefits for community and achieve objective and aim of development and conservation of natural resources. Tourism should be categorize and develop in small scale and with minimum negative impact of environment. That’s for government, non-govt, and local authorities should be develop small scale of spiritual circuits in which includes natural areas, religious and spiritual destination and emphasize to manage and operate by local community of certain areas.

Local community also be sufficient to make a switch from agriculture to tourism attractive in prime tourism areas and make tourism a useful complement to agriculture income in other areas. Local people, hoteliers, restaurateurs, and other should emphasize to promote their traditional food dishes and add these items in food menu. According to statistics of tourist report in Uttarakhand many lakhs of tourist visit here all over year but mostly we see in Uttarakhand food menu, Chinese and south Indian dishes available but in context of Uttarakhand, traditional food items are not add in food menu even single traditional dishes. due to this, local farmers doesn’t get more benefits from production of traditional food items and result is decreases productivity of traditional food items, people migrate from Uttarakhand to other state for searching job and other sources for livelihood, lack of interest of youth in agriculture field.

Now the question arises why the Uttarakhand people are migrating, because of which are becoming empty village to village. According to Financial Express that the Uttarakhand government said there are over six lakh people registered with employment exchanges in the state and many of them are professionally trained. As many as 6,66,677 people are registered till March with employment centers in different districts of Uttarakhand. The unemployment rate for rural & urban (combined) in Uttarakhand stands at 5.2% (2012-13), which is considerably higher as compared to the national average of 3.8%. Unemployment rate among males stands at 3.2% while for females it is 11.3% for rural & urban (combined). And the statistics show that unemployment, poor education system in remote/rural areas, less living facilities, natural disaster may cause to be migrated from rural areas to urban areas in Uttarakhand and also other states.


Uttarakhand is mostly popular for Char Dham Yatra and other religious tourism and due to lots of pressure of human activity during Yatra it seems improper management of garbage disposal, no parking facilities, no clean and hygienic food provide, no rule and regulation follows by tourist. The important suggestion for integrated planning of tourism development through sustainability and minimize the negative impacts on environment in Uttarakhand given below:

■ Developing a master plan of tourism along with circuit plan for specific and spiritual tourist destination.

■ Emphasize to promote community base tourism as well as their other components.

■ Understand your costumers (Tourist), tourism market and develop it accordance to costumer choice.

■ Raise awareness about natural conservation among the local people in a simple way.

■ Along with emphasize to promote and initiate local folklore, traditional music, songs, dances, costumes, food dishes whereby we can create livelihood related opportunity at local level


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