Tourism in the Himalaya

In a developing country such as India, the tourism industry can be main source of revenue and if carried out properly the tourism industry can also give an increase to the country’s economy. This paper on the case study of the Himalayas will discuss the effects of tourism in this area. The Himalayan Mountain is the longest and highest range of mountain compared to all the other mountain systems of the world (Sharma). The Himalayan Mountain range is separated into 3 sectors from east to west, The Great Himalaya, The Middle Himalaya, and the Outer Himalaya (Anonymous).

The Himalayas also has a high diversity of flora and fauna and the mountains acts a barrier against the cold wind coming from Siberia. Tourist such as mountaineers trekkers and nature lovers, from around the world visit India, and especially the Himalayas because of its beautiful scenic views and its peaceful atmosphere (Anonymous). Since 1980 the number of tourist visiting the Himalayas has raised from 800,000 to 1. 8 million (Dayal 1989 and Kottary 1994).

The issues that have arisen from the great number of tourist in the Himalayas are the degradation of the environment. Over exploitation of the natural resource places the environment’s natural equilibrium in jeopardy. The great increase in tourist visiting the Himalayas led to cutting down of trees for constructions of new roads and the meadows replace for campsites (Anonymous) and as a result of improper use of the environment, it is estimated that 1. 5 million hectors of forest is disappearing every year.

Disappearing forest not only affect the tribal communities but it also has a huge effect on wild life as it disrupt the animals’ food-chain, other consequences such as landslides can also occur. The assortment of plants and flowers are also depleting due to tourist, plants such as the Juniperus bush are being pluck away because it easily catch fire while still green and it serve tourist as a source of amusement (Anonymous). The most popular activities in the Himalayas is hunting and mountaineering.

Hunting is permitted only to people with license and only certain animals were allowed to be hunted, due to these strict rules many tourist have become poachers. Many animals like the snowleopards, deer, goral, are in danger because they are hunted for their valuable skin and meat. Mountaineering in the Himalayas went from being an adventure with small groups has turned into a practice sport, with a massive entourage of man and animals. The mountain trails are barren of trees because the mountaineers depend on firewood for warmth.

These trees and bush being chopped down can lead to the soil wearing down and landslides. Pollution on these trails is also a problem with these expeditions as people often leave behind canned goods, gas cylinders, first aid medicine all these items non biodegradable and harmful to the environment (Anonymous). Increasing number of tourist in the Himalayas have proven to be beneficial, since the tourism industry in India is second behind only to the gem and jewelry business (Anonymous), but tourism compared to gem and jewelry is the highest in net foreign exchange (Bala 1990).

The money spent by tourist it has the multiplier effect, as it creates new jobs and capital accumulation. Through tourism workers earn around $290 compared to the national average of $120. In 1993 with 1. 8 million tourists to the Himalayas, gave a revenue of USD 1. 8 billion and foreign exchange grew about 14% that year alone (Kottary 1994). The impacts of tourism and the seven categories that where introduce by Glenn Kreag, only four of these factors can be related to the case of Himalaya. The most important factor that this case focuses on is the environmental factor; this case does not mention the positive impacts.

It focuses more on the negative aspects that tourist have, such as the degradation of the environment and pollutions like solid waste, noise, and visual. The destruction of flora and fauna, and the uncontrolled visitation of tourist also play a role in degrading an environment. Economic impact plays a huge role on India’s economy because it increases the employment and creates new business opportunities. Tourism also contributes to the development of transportation infrastructure. The negative impact in India’s economy is the competition for land.

Crowding and congestion is the next aspect on the Himalayas, with major increase in tourist India could not accommodate every with only 750 hotels and 47, 400 rooms (anonymous) which is considered to be a negative impact. The last two categories that have the lease intensity impact on the Himalayas are taxes, services. Service such as sewage system, telephone, electricity, have been available in rural areas of the country due to the tourist relate infrastructure. Increase in taxes for hotels, shopping and restaurants have some affects on the cities revenues.

The source of impact such a tourist and destination factor that Kreag introduce at the end of the article has a major effect for the case of the Himalayas. Tourist factors such as number of visitors, length of stay and choice of activities, have all been linked to the destination factor of fragility of the environment used by tourist (Kreag). Greater number of tourist creates more pollution, tourist who stay longer can jeopardized the natural resources and choice of activities lead to alteration of the landscape.