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Look at tourism as a learning experience

“A major part of the travel is local culture. It is important to understand it. So try and learn about the people and their culture,” eco-tourism enthusiast said.

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More than visiting a place and enjoying its beauty, one should look at tourism as a personal growth, said eco-tourism enthusiast Arun Peter Kumar.

“A major part of the travel is local culture. It is important to understand it. So try and learn about the people and their culture,” he said.

“Nature tests you, puts a number of challenges before you and you have to overcome these challenges with the limited resources you have,” he added.

CB Ram Kumar of Our Native Village, an eco resort, said it had not been easy to change people’s perception of eco-tourism. “When we started Our Native Village, five years ago, a lot of people could not understand our obsession with sustainability and eco living. They wondered why we were so obsessed with generating our own electricity, processing our waste and using rain water… Today, people are beginning to understand…,” he said.

ND Tiwari of Jungle Lodges and Resorts said eco-tourism is growing as people are becoming more concerned about environment. But the tremendous growth of the industry worries him.

“We have seen a 15% to 20% growth in the market every year. This is only adding pressure to the area,” he said.

There is need for better accreditation of lodges to ensure that those who run them know what they are doing. “We need more naturalists who can tell people what to do and what not to do in order to maintain the beauty of the area,” he said.

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