An ecotourism policy necessary to protect tourist sites

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ISLAMABAD:

Experts at a conference Thursday stressed the need for an ecotourism policy dedicated to protecting the cultural and biological diversity of scenic tourist attractions across the country.

Massive sensitization of all stakeholders to ecotourism was imperative to purge tourist attractions of random constructions, posing a serious threat to the ecosystem of these places, said Aftab Rana, member of the National Tourism Coordination Council (NTCB ), during a one-day seminar.

The Ecotourism for Rural Economy conference was organized by the Akhtar Hameed Khan National Center for Rural Development (AHKNCRD) in collaboration with the Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO).

Rana said mass tourism increases water consumption, waste and waste, as well as air pollution at major tourist resorts in northern regions.

Intensive and coordinated efforts were essential to promote environmental conversion and job creation in the regions, attracting domestic and foreign tourists.

He said there was a need to differentiate between conventional ecotourism and ecotourism so that specific initiatives can be taken to bring sustainability to the sector by diversifying local economies from specific tourism areas.

The NTCB member said the country has enormous ecotourism potential that needs to be harnessed for the development of rural economies and raising the standard of living of the people.

“Pakistan is predominantly a rural country and tourism can greatly contribute to the socio-economic development of these otherwise neglected regions,” he noted.

The director of Drive for Economic and Environment Development, Muhammad Junaid Ghauri, has called on the government to introduce a separate ecotourism policy to identify the environmental consequences arising from the increase in tourism activities across the country.

He said mass tourism is a major challenge at the moment, as it leads to massive hotel constructions, deprivation of residents of financial benefits and the generation of waste in top tourist destinations.

Posted in The Express Tribune, November 20e, 2020.


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