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Social and Environmental Impact of the Hospitality Sector and Local People in Eco-Tourism Assignment Help

literature review of research project 

"Social and Environmental Impact of the hospitality sector and Local People in Eco-tourism, Kerala India." this is topic.

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Introduction

Eco-tourism can have a significant impact on the local population of the area. Since this type of tourism is based on the conservation of many types of environments, it is often seen that eco-tourism can have a positive effect on the local population, who might also be in the area of preservation of the environment (Revathy, Mathew&Narayanankutty, 2014). It is seen that eco-tourism encourages local ownership and traditional practices of preservation and maintenance are also observed, which can mean that it can have a significant impact on the local communities. 

Kerala is a state in the southern-most part of India. It is heavily dependent on tourism, and is covered in forests and beaches, many of which are popular eco-tourism spots(Fazili& Ashraf, 2006). The following review of literature aims to look at the Social and Environmental Impact of the hospitality sector and Local People in Eco-tourism, Kerala India. It will mainly look at 5 famous eco-tourism spots- Thenmala, Neyyar wildlife sanctuary, Konni, Gavi and Eravikulam National Park. It looks at the potential impact that eco-tourism can have on these particular spots as well. Most of the local population have been known to benefit greatly from the economic benefits that come from tourists. This leads to increased positive social impact as well. Since it is based on conservation of the environment, it could also have a positive impact on the environment as well. 

Review of Literature

Thenmala

According to Manoj, (2017), there have been a significant increase in the employment sector from the moment that Thenmala had been declared an eco-tourism spot. Thenmala was the first planned eco-tourism destination in Kerala, and the various economic impacts of the same have been significantly as well (Manoj, 2017). Based on the research from his paper “Impact of Ecotourism: Evidence from Thenmala Ecotourism Destination in Kollam District, Kerala”, it was seen that the local communities played a significant role in ensuring that the tourists did not damage the environment, and that the local population helped in maintaining the beauty of the place (Manoj, 2017). However, it could be seen that ther3e needed to be a limit on the number of visitors allowed, so that the local population did not feel overwhelmed or threatened by the tourists. 

Most of the papers that talk about eco-tourism and the impacts that it has had only manage to talk about the economic benefits that it has brought to the local population. According to Babu, (2012), there have been significant cultural and social changes that have also been noted in Thenmala after the eco-tourism project was started and planned (Babu, 2012). There had been 500 households in Thenmala, and the there are various government initiatives, such as the Kudumbashree canteen which is run and managed by the local women, which has proven to be a major tool for their empowerment (Babu, 2012). 

Thus, it can be seen quite clearly that there are significant social and environmental impacts that have been brought to Thenmala through the concept of eco-tourism. 

Neyyar wildlife sanctuary 

According to Babu, Nandakumar, John, Jayaprasad& Pramod, (2000), Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary has provided significant changes in the environment. By declaring it a wildlife sanctuary and opening it for tourists, the government has been able to get the funds that are required for intense preservation of the wildlife sanctuary, and thus, it can be seen that eco-tourism has been able to have a positive effect on the environment. Since the Neyyar wildlife sanctuary is a declared sanctuary, the local people around that area have very little effect on the sanctuary (Babu, Nandakumar, John, Jayaprasad& Pramod, 2000). The local people have been able to have a significant positive impact in terms of the preservation of the environment, and in ensuring that the tourists have a positive experience in the area (Babu, Nandakumar, John, Jayaprasad& Pramod, 2000). 

Mathew & Chandran, (2010), however, feel that there are significant gaps in the eco-tourism planning, and in the way in which the policies have been made. They feel that the hospitality sector is not included in the eco-tourism plans of the area, and there are no policies in place to ensure that the local people are left in charge of the resources (Mathew & Chandran, 2010). The environmental impact of the local people on eco-tourism in Neyyar wildlife sanctuary is not much, since the Government making it a protected area has ensured that the impact of the hospitality sector has also been minimized (Mathew & Chandran, 2010). 

Konni

Konni is a region in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. It has been known to be extremely famous for the forests and elephant training centres of the region. According to Anitha, (2010), the major reason for the area becoming a tourism hotspot and area for eco-tourism is because of the local people. The area has been known for the elephant training centres, which the local people of the region have been keen on ensuring continues (Anitha, 2010). Thus, the local population has a major role to play in ensuring that the environment is maintained in a proper manner, which ensures that the tourism in the area increases. 

Shihabudheen& Manoj, (2014), are of a similar opinion. According to them, if the government decides to remove the local elephant training centres from the area, then a majority of the tourism would be removed (Shihabudheen& Manoj, 2014). There are no major hotel or hospitality chains in the area, and most of the hotels and places for tourists to stay are owned by the locals. Thus, the social and economic impact on tourism would be drastic. Tourism in this area, especially eco-tourism, is based entirely on the local people of the area (Shihabudheen& Manoj, 2014). 

Gavi

Gavi is one of the few places in Kerala that is a hotspot for tourism, but is limited. This is because of the governmental limitations that have been put in place in order to access the area. Since Gavi is a forest, the number of tourists that are allowed in the area are extremely limited. According to Barbier, (2011), there are immense restrictions in place, and the hospitality industry in Gavi consists mainly of government and local camps. This would mean that the impact of the hospitality industry would be limited to that of the local population (Barbier, 2011). 

There has not been any research done on the environmental impact of the local population on eco-tourism in Gavi, and most of the research that is related to the local people in Gavi is based on the economic impact of tourism and the environmental impact that tourism has been found to have. The environmental impact, according toSebastian& Rajagopalan, (2012), is destruction to the natural habitat of the elephants and the tigers, since Gavi is a part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Thus, tourism has not been extremely beneficial to the environment (Sebastian& Rajagopalan, 2012)

Eravikulam National Park

The Eravikulam National Park is one of the most important National Parks in the area, and there has been significant research that is done in regards to the flora and fauna that has been found in the Park. It is also one of the few major destinations in the state for tourists and researchers. According to Rajan, (2015), there are 26 species of mammals that have been found in the park, which is the major tourist attraction. The area surrounding the park is known to be of immense importance to the hospitality industry. Since it is in Munnar, the impact that the local population can have on the Park is significant (Rajan, 2015). 

However, most of the research that has been done in the area is based on the flora and fauna of the region. It is thus, of extreme importance to conduct further research on the impact that the hospitality sector and the local population would have on eco-tourism in the area. 

Conclusion

There are significant changes that have to be made in order to ensure that eco-tourism in the above places can be maintained, so that the local population, as well as the tourists, and the environment is able to benefit from the idea of eco-tourism. Policy changes have to be made that are specific to these places, and to the idea of eco-tourism, since general policies cannot be enough to maintain the above. A large number of the local people suggest that tourists be sent in limited numbers, especially in Gavi and Thenmala, since they are ecologically sensitive places. In order to ensure that eco-tourism continues bringing a positive impact on the people and the place, it is often essential to note that the policy changes that have been suggested by the researchers be implemented, so that it continues to have the positive benefits that it has been having. The Kerala Government should try to implement the idea of eco-tourism on other major tourists’ destinations as well, since it has been seen that it has a positive impact.  

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