Tourism value chain study in Ladakh

Posted on 05 November 2012   |  
Tourists at Pangong Tso
© Kiran Rajashekariah/WWF-India
Tourism has grown exponentially in the Ladakh region impacting both its economy and ecology. The stress on the fragile ecosystem is more than ever before, especially on the wetlands which are great tourist attractions. At present Ladakh receives a wide range of tourists – local, national and international. This creates a complex tourism chain right from the source, where a tourist embarks on his journey till he reaches his destination(s). The environmental, social and economic impacts are different at various stages of this tourism chain. In order to ensure that the environmental impacts are a minimum and economic benefits go directly to the local communities, a sound mechanism needs to be designed providing a degree of clarity and transparency at every stage of the chain. Towards this end, WWF recently joined hands with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) to conduct a study on tourism value chain in Ladakh.

The study was initiated with a workshop titled ‘Tourism value chain in Ladakh’ jointly organised by WWF-India in collaboration with ICIMOD; Department of Wildlife Protection, Leh and Department of Tourism, Government of J&K on November 1, 2012. This was attended by a wide range of stakeholders from various fields. The Chairman and Chief Executive Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Mr. Rigzin Spalbar inaugurated the workshop.

On the occasion he spoke about how tourism is a double-edged sword and short-term gains may take precedence over long-term environmental considerations. However, natural ecosystems and biological resources that may be threatened by tourism development provide the very goods and services that underpin the tourism industry. He informed the participants of an ‘environment fee’ that has been collected this tourist season in Ladakh which will be used for nature conservation in the region.

The workshop was a good beginning for the overall study on tourism value chain. As a follow up, separate meetings will be held with the various stakeholders to further understand this complex tourism chain. Accordingly, measures will be suggested for a value-based tourism which can benefit the local economy and communities, and cause no harm to the environment of the region at the same time.
Tourists at Pangong Tso
© Kiran Rajashekariah/WWF-India Enlarge


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