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22th January 2024 (10 Topics)

Government's Initiative to Promote Nature Tourism at Ramsar Sites

Context

The Central government aims to boost tourism at ecologically-sensitive wetlands, known as Ramsar sites.

About

About Ramsar Sites:

  • Ramsar sites are wetlands designated as internationally important under the Ramsar Convention.
  • Ramsar sites are identified for international importance, especially for waterfowl habitat.
  • Examples in India: Chilika Lake (Odisha), Sundarbans (West Bengal), Bhitarkarnika Mangroves (Odisha), and more.

Objective of the Initiative:

  • Shift from high-value tourism to nature tourism at fragile wetlands.
  • Direct support for conservation actions.
  • Empower local communities and economies.

Amrit Dharohar Capacity Building Scheme 2023:

  • Launched by the Union Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change.
  • Aims to promote the conservation values of Ramsar Sites, generate employment, and support local livelihoods.

Implementation:

  • Convergence with various central government ministries, state wetland authorities, and formal/informal institutions.
  • Training facilitators, tourism service providers, and stakeholders.
  • Collaboration with State Tourism Departments.

Focus Areas:

  1. Skill Development: Training programs at pilot Ramsar sites - Sultanpur National Park, Bhitarkanika Mangroves, Chilika Lake, Sirpur, and Yashwant Sagar.
  2. Alternative Livelihood Program (ALP): Participants trained for 15 days each at Sultanpur, Yashwant Sagar, and Sirpur.
  3. Paryatan Navik Certificate: Boatman certification for tourism at Bhitarkanika and Chilika.

Significance of Nature Tourism:

  • Nature tourism focuses on natural attractions like birdwatching, photography, stargazing, camping, etc.
  • Targets high-value tourists interested in diverse natural and cultural resources.

Importance of Wetlands:

  • Essential for global biodiversity conservation and sustaining ecosystems.
  • Nature tourism at Ramsar sites aligns with the conservation of these vital areas.
  • The government's initiative aims to strike a balance between promoting tourism and ensuring the ecological sustainability of Ramsar Sites.
  • Nature tourism not only benefits local economies but also contributes to the preservation of unique ecosystems.

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