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A Critical Appraisal Of Tourism Industry In Kashmir

By Umer Jeelanie Banday

01 August, 2015
Countercurrents.org

Tourism as a word originated in the year 1811 and was associated with ‘mobility’and recreation. Tourism has been recognized as an engine for economic development after 2nd world war. It is a complex phenomenon whose incidence is felt on almost every section and activity of the society. Protagonists of tourism have explained it as harbinger of economic growth and mollifier of social and economic inequalities. Tourism primarily being a service industry as it does not produce goods but renders services to various classes of people. It generates three types of employment (I) direct employment such as hotel entrepreneurs works at resorts, transports and guides (ii) indirect jobs to those who are related to tourism at secondary level such as banks, handicrafts shops.(iii) induced employment from spending money by local residents from their tourist income that uses local goods and services. In this way the cycle of income and employment increase. This cycle is known as “employment multiplier-effect.” Thus money spent by tourist does not stop moving after it is spent and circulates through various strata and hierarchy of the economy. The intensity of multiplier depends on the proportion of the income from tourism which is redistributed to other branches of the nation economy. This expenditure cycle goes on and ultimately raises GNP.

It is also the “Environmental Kuznets Curve” EKC which shows us that the increase in tourism in under developing countries will lead the degradation of Environment and will the world be able to sustain economic growth indefinitely without running into resource constraints or despoiling the environment beyond repair growing economic activity (production and consumption) requires larger inputs of energy and material, and generates larger quantities of waste by-products. Increased extraction of natural resources, accumulation of waste and concentration of pollutants will therefore overwhelm the carrying capacity of the biosphere and result in the degradation of environmental quality and a decline in human welfare, despite rising incomes.

Tourism and the environment have a very complex and Interdependent relationship. Tourism is one of the largest revenue generator industries in today’s world economy and especially for the Jammu and Kashmir. With the increase in tourist theEconomy grows but on the other side the level of waste is also increasing. So,

Economic growth= f (tourism)…………………………… (1)

Waste= f (tourism) ……………………………………….. (2)

Tourism industry is the backbone of our state economy. Tourism has always been perceived as a fastest growing segment and as such turned out to be an immense business opportunity for Kashmir region; it could be a catalyst factor for positioning of brand Kashmir in the world. There is a positive impact of tourism on the GSDP of Kashmir because of being the biggest industry in the Kashmir. The increase in tourism ratio increases the GSDP of the state. This not only increases the GSDP but also leads to the development in infrastructure of the state. However, this does not take into account the sustaining capacity of these tourist areas. The notion of sustaining capacity means that there are limits to the use of natural resources. The environment will probably be damaged if overused, and if the limits of its sustaining capacity are surpassed the ecosystem will lose its sustainability and will “be damaged or destroyed for a long time, if not forever.” Tourism can also have an adverse effect on air and water quality. Air pollution can be attributed to the congestion of tourist vehicles in resort areas. There can also be pollution of lakes, rivers and oceans caused by large quantities of waste material and inadequately treated sewage from tourist facilities and from oil spills from recreational vehicles. This pollution can transmit diseases such as typhoid, cholera and hepatitis through seafood and can also cause eutrophication by increasing the nutrients in the water.

Tourism and the environment have a very complex and Interdependent relationship between each other. The 1990s saw the advent of the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis and an explosion of studies that tested it for a variety of pollutants. In this section, I review the basic EKC studies that focus on the income-environment relationship. According to the EKC as the level of tourists increase the pollution levelalso increases. It can be easily argued that since climate, vegetation, wildlife and geology play a large role in attracting tourism, the industry has a stake in the preservation of the environment on which it is based.

Environmental unsound practices in solid wastes and in sewage disposal pose the most serious threat for tourism. Though solid waste is a cause of environmental concern, at current it is more of an aesthetic problem. Sewage effluents are discharged in the lakes and river. However the discharges are small or big but it leads the environmental degradation. The Kashmir has developed a very suitable form of tourism, appropriate for the “paradise on Earth”. The present form of tourism is going to be a matter of concern for rapid change in environment which is going to be a cause of drastic change in climate seen now a days in Kashmir. The government has to develop appropriate policies, legislation and plans and instituted mechanism to apply strict standards, threshold limit and regulations for sustainable tourism.

Umer Jeelanie Banday Research Scholar Central University of Haryana (Department of Economics)
Email:ubanday@gmail.com

 



 

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