Thursday, October 24, 2013

Community Participation For Environment-friendly Tourism: The Avenue For Local Peace

This paper examines the ways to enhance local peace through environment-friendly tourism. It identifies linkages among environment, tourism and local peace, looks at the trend of the tourism sector's role in peace-building and explores potentials and challenges of its engagement in building local peace in Nepal. It is a qualitative and conceptual paper. The information is derived from key informant interviews, participant observation and stakeholder consultation workshops. Some legal documents relating to the topic are reviewed. The paper also presents two examples of community participation in tourism. It argues that peace, environment and tourism are all vulnerable to local conditions. In addition to meeting the needs of tourists, it is vital to ensure community participation and protect the environment. After all, this is the venue from which local peace begins its journey.

Key words: Environment, tourism, local people, community participation, Nepal

[Recommended citation: Ghimire Safal and Upreti Bishnu Raj. 2011. Community Participation For Environment-friendly Tourism: The Avenue For Local Peace. Journal of Tourism and Peace Research, 2(1), 2011, pp. 55-69. Downloadable Source]

Peace, environment and tourism are all fragile. Satani (2004) asserts that they are vulnerable because any subtle changes in internal and external situations can easily affect them. However, sound management and a balance among them help reduce such vulnerabilities. This is why the interconnections among peace, environment and tourism should be examined from vulnerability perspectives as much as from opportunity perspectives. Sustainable environment is important for sustainable tourism and environmental justice is important in maintaining societal peace. On one hand, tourists are there at least partly because the destination society and environment are assumed to be good. On the other hand, environments may be kept good to encourage tourist visitation. Any society is prone to problems where environment is ignored by tourism interests. Minor environmental problems may loom large, leading to major conflicts. This may create disharmony between society and tourism entrepreneurs. Hence, there is relationship of interdependence among environment, tourism and local peace. This paper discusses the circumstances in Nepal, a touristic country long known as the birthplace of Buddha, the location of Mount Everest and a place of pristine natural beauty. This destination has also been presented as a country emerging from eleven years of violent armed conflict. Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2006, the country has begun to regain its previous image. Of course, there are many challenges as well as windows of opportunity. Within this context, this paper examines the issues in terms of tourism, community relations, relevant trends, opportunities and challenges in maintaining local peace. It discusses some international instruments and instances and relates them to the national and local contexts. It also reviews some existing policies and reaches a conclusion that making tourism environment-friendly and sustainable needs more participation from stakeholders, cooperation from civil society and a willingness among entrepreneurs to conduct business in a socially responsible way.


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