Shimla: In its efforts to encourage responsible tourism in the Himalayas, the World Wide Fund for Nature-India launched its Green Hiker Campaign in Himachal Pradesh, in collaboration with Himachal Pradesh department of tourism and civil aviation. The campaign aims at raising awareness about the vulnerability of the Himalayan ecosystem by encouraging tourists and tour operators to adopt responsible practices towards reducing the impact of tourism on this fragile ecosystem.
Manisha Nanda, financial secretary, department of tourism and civil aviation & launched the Green Hikers Campaign. RK Sood, conservator, Wild Life; Dr JC Kuniyal, scientist, GB Pant Institute, Kullu, were among the eminent persons present on the occasion. The launch which took place at the Dragon Hall, Hotel Holiday Home on Friday, saw the participation of film makers, media persons, hoteliers, tour operators and travel agents.
A comprehensive presentation on the Green Hiker Campaign was give by Vandana Thaplyal, state director, WWF-India, followed by the screening of the short Green Hiker animation film, created to spread awareness. The proposed activities to take place in Himachal Pradesh under the aegis of the campaign were announced by Dr Sanjeev Sharma, WWF-India.
Manisha Nanda while launching the campaign said, “Himalayas are the largest mountain range, which covers the entire India. The Himalayas are natural barriers which not only protect us but also entrap monsoon winds and are source of rivers which are useful for irrigation and electricity generation. The dense forests of the Himalayas provide us valuable timber and forest products. The high peaks of the Himalayas are also the source of adventure for mountaineers. The main objective of the Green Hikers Campaign is to sensitize and raise awareness level about the vulnerability of Himalayan eco-system so that tourists create low impact on the environment and local culture and behave sensibly to sustain it for posterity.”
Mr. Sanjeev Sharma, Sr. Project officer, WWF- India highlighted upon the proposed activities. Display of collaterals at vital tourist destinations, Co-ordinating with tour-operators, Visiting the wetlands and setting up awareness camps there, Arrange and promote meaningful contact between tourists and local people, Coordination with the Tourism Dept. to promote responsible tourism,Using media to promote Green Hikers activities, Using Local fairs, festivals and temples, which are rare and unique as a means of communication for dissemination of Green Hiker Message, Green Hikers animation display at Ridge though LCD screening, Distribution of Green Hikers Resources material and Display at Tourist information Centres, Tour operators training, To provide training for owners of Home stay in collaboration with Tourism Dept., Interaction with Tourists on Mall road etc will be activities under Green Hikers Programme.