Ecotourism source of poverty alleviation and natural conservation in Kashmir India
Dr. Bilal Ahmad Khan
Ecotourism is associated with nature and poverty alleviation. Ecotourism is believed to be significant for the generation of income, sustainability of the environment, political enablement of local societies as well as for educational purposes. Ecotourism generate economic benefits at local to national level and thus create incentives to preserve the resources. With its backward and forward linkages with other sectors of the economy, ecotourism is an effective tool for poverty alleviation and ensuring growth with equity. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has a vast potential to become one of the India’s best ecotourism destination and having numerous attractive and beautiful tourist spots. Ecotourism helps in sustainable development. Ecotourism is believed to be associated with various challenges which are environmental deterioration, inability to contribute to local economy as well as cultural exploitation and deterioration. The study would attempt to explore the potential sites of ecotourism for future development in Kashmir and would examine the correlation between ecotourism and natural conservation with regard to the perception of tourist and conservation agencies. The study is exploratory in nature but empirical tools are also applied to highlight the potential of ecotourism. Jammu and Kashmir being a large Union Territory, blessed with diverse geographical features, offers a plethora of attractions to tourists. A balance between development and the environment should be created.