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Adventure, rural tourism to promote employment of locals

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HEENA MAHAJANMussoorie

The two-day workshop was recently organised by the Uttarakhand Tourism in association with the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) in Mussoorie on ‘Hunar se Rozgar through Adventure & Rural Tourism’. RH Khwaja, secretary Tourism, Government of India spoke about employment generation in rural areas in relation to tourism.

Dr Anil P Joshi, chairman, Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO) said that educating tourists and locals should focus not only on adventure and entertainment, but also sustainability. He also stressed on the need to safeguard the fragile environment of the Himalayas while conducting adventure tourism activities. Social worker Jot Singh Bisht felt that the skills of the local community should be developed in such a way that they too are involved in tourism activities, be it rural or adventure tourism. The tour operators should also be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices and respect them.

A discussion on minimising the risk of accidents on adventure tours saw panel members Ajeet Bajaj, MD, Snow Leopard Adventures, Col. HS Chauhan from Indian Mountaineering Foundation, Maj SK Yadav, MD, WanderLust Travels and Mandip Singh Soin, senior VP, IATO and MD, Ibex Expeditions put forward the need of importing duty free equipments required in the implementation of activity as well as developing the infrastructure. “The use of gadgets like satellite phones is a must to ensure the safety standards without compromising the security issue,” said Bajaj.

Ragini Singh, senior regional communications officer, WWF India introduced the Green Hiker Programme where they are working to assess the impact of tourism on wetlands in the Himalayas and working to put them in the National Wetlands List.

Film actor and trekking enthusiast Deepti Nawal as a special guest shared her experience during the shooting of ‘The path less travelled’, a travel show in Kumaon and Garhwal. She was offered the opportunity to be the brand ambassador for the state of Uttarakhand.