November 24, 2007
Trek on Foot!
Long-distance hiking is incredibly romantic — the idea of spending weeks
or months at a time in some of the most beautiful backcountry areas in the
world is almost universally appealing, especially when contrasted to the
fluorescent lights, traffic jams, and overwhelming email inboxes of modern
life. But long-distance newbies need to realize that the reality of
long-distance hiking is not always pleasant: you can’t just “float” by like
you can in “the real world” — there are always miles to be walked, stormy
weather to fend off, fatigue and soreness to treat, discomforts to cope
with, etc. You have to earn the “Beautiful moments” — the sunsets, wildlife
encounters, 12,000-foot ridgewalks, and trail magic from generous locals.
If you understand the work-to-reward ratio of long-distance hiking, and if
you’re okay with it, you’ll have much more success and you’ll enjoy yourself
For new trekkers:
1. Familiarise yourself with all that you can read about the place.
2. Read trip reports by others
3. Develop skills, become more familiar with your gear and
maps/guidebook, and understand better the terrain and weather. Ideally go
with a more experienced backpacker who can transfer knowledge they have
learned from others and from their trials and errors.
September 16, 2007
Marine resources and environment protection in India has a long way to go. Our neighbouring countries can provide case studies and success stories which can be a great learnng experience for our marine scientists and conservationists.
The 5th Asia Pacific EcoTourism Conference (APECO) is taking place in Terengganu, Malaysia on 27th and 28th October this year. The theme is Marine Ecotourism: Best Sustainable Practices and Success Stories. The Conference will address these challenging issues
and learn how to manage marine ecotourism through sustainable practices particularly in the Asia Pacific region. The conference also has special sessions on conservation of marine resources.
The details of the conference are avavilable at
August 23, 2007
Singapore’s government is encouraging the city-state’s hotels to go green. Under a new scheme run by the National Environment Agency (NEA), energy-efficient hotels can compete for an “Energy Smart” label. To gain this distinction, they must measure themselves
against a set of energy benchmarks devised by the NEA and the National University of Singapore.
The NEA is also helping to fund the energy audits. The winners of the inaugural award in August were the Regent, the Shangri-La, the Intercontinental and Changi Village. But much work still needs doing: hotels currently account for a whopping 2% of Singapore’s
greenhouse gas emissions.
August 14, 2007
In recent years many western communities have shifted their reliance from drilling, mining and logging to recreational activities like camping, fishing, hunting, skiing, climbing and boating on public lands for jobs, economic growth and vitality.
According to a report prepared by Sierra Club, outdoor recreation across the American West generated more than $60 billion and over 600,000 new jobs in 2006 alone. Western communities situated closest to federally protected public lands showed the strongest
economic growth in recent years. The Sierra Club says it is working to get traction for this information so that policymakers and the public can counter industry propaganda about the need to increase drilling, mining and logging on Western lands.
“Public lands drive the tourist-based economies in our western states,” says the Sierra Club’s Keren Murphy, who authored the report. “If we protect special places, they’ll provide a source of income and enjoyment for generations to come.”
May 13, 2007
Key comments in a survey conducted by Planeta.com
How do you characterize ecotourism in the country where you live? Provide examples of best or worst practices
PAKISTAN - Ecotourism is a new concept in Pakistan. Some people understand its true concept but most of the people in travel trade are not
fully aware about the concept
INDIA - Ecotourism is becoming one of the major attractions of Kerala. In this small state, ecotourism activities and programs are mainly
in the wilderness areas. Ecotourism programs in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary are the examples of best practices, because of the participation of the local community. Worst practices are the business
magnets trying to project themselves as leaders of the ecotourism bandwagon of Kerala. The whole tourism management authority of government is being manipulated by this highly influential group
What are the noteworthy achievements in ecotourism in the past five years?
PAKISTAN - In Pakistan people from travel trade have started thinking more seriously the negative impacts of general and tourism and there is better growth of understanding about the
concept of ecotourism during the last five years.
INDIA - In India, especially in Kerala, more travellers and entrepreneurs have become aware of ecotourism. Indigenous people are making an alternate livelihood from these programs in the Reserves
i mentioned earlier, and in turn, they are working with the state forest department to protect the jungles they live in which is indeed a noteworthy achievement.
January 30, 2007
An amazing treetop walk through the dense forests of Naduvathumoozhy, near Konni, is likely to become a reality soon. And God’s Own Country will be able to offer tourists one more major attraction.
"The idea is to set up the facility at Naduvathumoozhy, on the banks of the Achencoil river, near Konni, in cooperation with the Forest Department and the Tourism Department,’’ District Collector of Pathanamthitta Ashok Kumar Singh, who is the chairman of
the District Tourism Promotion Council, told The Hindu .
Mr. Singh, a former Additional Director of Tourism, said the treetop walk would be similar to those in Australia and many southeast African countries.
He said the project was part of the council’s efforts to provide a range of recreational amenities to visitors with different interests and varying levels of trekking and hiking experience. The proposed facility would be the first of its kind in the whole
country, he said. What made the project unique was its structure. The walkway would be made of light-weight steel trusses built on steel pylons to form a secure ramp, he said.
"The walkway can be erected, linking giant trees in the forests. A boardwalk meandering through the thick forests and that too at a height of 50 to 60 metres will be really amazing to the visitors.’’
The length of the walkway can be from 1 to 1.5 km. The visitors can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy from the hanging walkway. It will be a peaceful experience with quiet spots to sit and reflect on the special nature of the forest. The walk
under the canopy of thousands of stars will provide the opportunity to see nocturnal wild creatures.
Mr. Singh said the council’s proposal was to protect native flora and fauna, while allowing the public access to certain areas of the reserve forests for recreation. The exact location of the project would be chosen with much care, ensuring that no tree
felling was required, he said.
He said it was better if the Forest Department ran the proposed eco-tourism project funded by the Tourism Department. He had already moved the proposal to the Government.
SOURCE : The Hindu, Tuesday, January 30, 2007
January 30, 2007
January 29, 2007
Mollem National Park: The core zone of Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary ( GOA) comprising an area of 107 sq. km. was notified as a National Park during 1978.
The forest range officer at Mollem, Amar Heblekar,decided to turn a motley band of high-school dropout tour operators into wildlife experts and here is his success story.
With permission and funds from the Goa Forest Department, Heblekar arranged a workshop. He was aware youngsters of the area had already been identified as troublemakers. The Doodhsagar Tour Operators Union (DTOU), as the guides called themselves, monopolised
the business, charged unreasonable rates and were also accused of threatening tourists.
Heblekar went around meeting the senior members of the DTOU, and passed out invitations for the nature interpretation workshop.
Earlier, the Goa Forest Department, on Heblekar’s suggestion, had registered the operators as official tour guides for an annual fee of Rs 5,000 to ensure their activities would remain under its watchful eyes. "Most of the participants came to us unsure about
what they would get from the day-long workshop," says Heblekar.
Heblekar was convinced the guides were ideal for spreading awareness about wildlife conservation. "They work in the field and if they knew about the rich flora and fauna of Mollem, they would be able to help tourists appreciate the environment a lot better.
In the process, they would automatically become wildlife enthusiasts and conservators," he says.
"We discovered a wonderful new world around us," says an enthusiastic Khandeparker. A tour guide for over three years, 22-year-old Khandeparker was one of those who attended the first workshop. From a novice, Khandeparker developed his new-found expertise
to rattle off the difference between a Giant Wood Spider and a Funnel Spider as well as little-known facts about termites and their importance.
Originally envisaged for 40 participants, the first workshop had 65 applications. On the next one, 46 were picking up basics on wildlife conservation and eco-tourism. Heblekar also arranged for an initial donation of 30 books from the forest department for
a fledgling wildlife library for the enthusiastic tour operators.
Contact Mollem National Park, Goa. Tel: 0832-2612211
October 20, 2006
A workshop on `Rising stakes of local community in conservation of forests and wildlife: Institutionalisation of eco-tourism involving local communities' was organised by the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and sponsored
by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests at the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady.
Senior IFS officers noted that though a few States had come out with their own policies on eco-tourism, a national level policy was necessary to address the ecological needs of the forest and environment, create people's involvement giving due regard to
their ethnicity and culture so that they feel involved, promoted and empowered. Such a policy would ensure that eco tourism programmes were not hijacked by vested interests.
The forests of the country were burdened with biotic pressure coming from the traditional dependency of the local communities. The traditional type of forest management deprived the local people of any significant stake and role in the protection of the
forests. Eco tourism, being a non-consumptive use of the forests, was emerging as an important alternative to strengthen the stakes of local communities for the protection of forests and wildlife.
The officers wanted eco tourism programmes to find a place in forest management and working plan provisions. The thumb rules for an eco tourism programme should be minimum investment on infrastructure, maximum benefit to the local communities, a link between
the programme and the local communities and respect to local culture and traditions.
It was recommended that in ecologically sensitive areas, the principle of high value, high adventure and low volume tourism should be followed.Local communities should have a major role in the implementation of any eco-tourism project. Draft recommendations
for a national policy for the implementation of eco-tourism programmes in forest, wildlife and other natural eco-system areas in the country were adopted
September 05, 2006
Expedia.com®, became the first online travel agency to offer travelers the ability to purchase carbon offsets -- carbon dioxide reduction measures used to help cancel out the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming.
Expedia® is offering the service through TerraPass, the leading
retailer of greenhouse gas reduction projects in the U.S.
"Expedia is dedicated to promoting responsible tourism, and we're
proud to extend environmentally conscious options to our travelers,"
said Steven McArthur, President, Expedia® North America Leisure
Travel Group. "We are committed to making a positive impact on
travel and tourism through industry advocacy, destination support
and the promotion of responsible tourism. Offering TerraPass carbon
offsets is just one way we invite our customers to join us in this
Airline travel currently accounts for about 13 percent of U.S.-
transportation-based emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary
greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. To help address this,
Expedia is partnering with TerraPass to make it simple for
environmentally conscious travelers to be carbon-balanced travelers
by purchasing a TerraPass from Expedia as part of their trip.
Expedia travelers can now pay a small fee to sponsor a measured,
verified reduction in greenhouse gas emissions directly proportional
to the emissions created by their plane flight. TerraPass funds
domestic clean energy projects, such as wind farms, innovative "cow
power" methane capture plants on American dairies, and the
retirement of carbon offsets on the Chicago Climate Exchange.
One year ago Expedia formed the World Heritage Alliance in partnership with the United Nations Foundation to support sustainable tourism to World Heritage sites.
Expedia.com travelers can choose from three levels of TerraPass to
purchase during the process of booking a flight or package, or as a
standalone component on Expedia's Activities page (
http://www.expedia.com/activities ). Prior to checkout, Expedia
customers will be offered a chance to purchase a TerraPass that
funds enough clean energy to balance out the CO2 emissions caused by
For example, a typical flight from New York to Los Angeles creates
about 2,000 lbs. per passenger of carbon dioxide (CO2), the
principal greenhouse gas. Pricing starts at $5.99 to offset about
1,000 lbs of CO2, the approximate amount per passenger emitted by a
2,200 mile round-trip flight. A TerraPass to cover cross-country and
international flights is $16.99 for up to 6,500 flight miles, and
$29.99 for up to 13,000 flight miles. Travelers who purchase a
TerraPass for cross-country or international flights will receive a
luggage tag that indicates their contribution to green travel.
Travelers who purchase a TerraPass for short-haul flights will
receive a decal.
Expedia is offering TerraPass to its customers at cost, so all
proceeds will go towards TerraPass' greenhouse gas reduction
efforts. For more
information, visit http://www.expedia.com/activities