Responsibility in Tourism should Go Beyond 3Rs

4 May 2008

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Responsibility in tourism needs to go beyond the 3R's - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - and the current notions of corporate social responsibility, according to Bangalore-based NGO Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS).

Tourism policy makers and the industry should show a willingness and accountability to engage with serious issues that confront current forms of mass tourism particularly when they claim tourism's credentials as a development tool.

In a note 'Not in my backyard!. How governments and industry have washed their hands off responsibility in tourism: Exploring Indian realities,' EQUATIONS has pointed out that pro-poor tourism, which is promoted in different forms to gain policy support and funding, should be more about the poor.

It is for the communities to decide rather than corporations and their agents. It must be responding to critical social problems and acting in social interest. Tourism policy continues to be focussed on the short-term 'increase arrivals; increase revenues' mind-set.

If tourism is to be more responsible, it should shift to a vision for tourism that is long-term and sustainable. The increasing number of policy initiatives towards encouraging private sector investment through tax holidays, facilitating land acquisition and subsidies are visible in policies of the Union government, State government, development reports and in the five-year plan documents.