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Nagaland

Ecotourism shows way to sustainable livelihood for rural Nagaland

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By Esther Verma Updated: Sep 26, 2019 11:14 pm
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September 27 is World Tourism Day; the UN has declared this year’s theme as ‘Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all’

 

Lumli Thonger (third from right) with local porters and a local tourist en route to Mt. Saramati in Kiphire district. (EM Images)

 

Dimapur, Sep. 26: In Nagaland, ecotourism could be one of the fastest growing industries, while also closely linking the occupation of the rural people to a more sustainable and alternate means of livelihood.

Ecotourism could differ from other aspects of the tourism industry as it is identified by its sustainable development outcome such as educating tourists, conserving the flora and fauna, and most importantly, profiting the local people.

As market research and reports show that eco-tourists are more interested in the natural, organic and wilderness setup, a non-profit organisation in Nagaland has initiated a tourism project in three villages emphasising on conservation when it comes to tourism.

The North East Initiative Development Agency (Neida) Nagaland, supported by the Tata Trust, in the last five years, has implemented what they call ‘Eco Nagaland’ at Thanamir and Fakim in Kiphire district and Dzulekie in Kohima district.

The entire project aims at strengthening community-based conservation initiatives and support forest-based livelihoods across 15 villages in Phek, Kiphire and Tuensang with two components under this project: Mithun-based conservation and community-based ecotourism.

At present, the three villages namely Thanamir, Fakim and Dzulekie have their own ecotourism boards through which Neida has given handholding support, provided them with basic training on housekeeping; booking and accounting; planning and management; hospitality; spoken English, and others.

All community members get equal opportunities whether it may be hosting guests at a homestay or a guide and porter; there is a rotation system so that all members get equal opportunity to earn, the project associate for ecotourism (Neida) Temjensula Jamir told Eastern Mirror.

According to Jamir, two persons from Kiphire and Dzulekie have been trained in cooking and presentation; hospitality and housekeeping; waste management; communication; book keeping and accounting; hygiene and sanitation; and planning and management.

“Our objective is to empower the locals from these villages and connect them to people that help in sustaining a conservative way of livelihood while implementing ecotourism,” said Jamir.

One of the trainers, Lumli from Kiphire, who is a freelance guide also spoke to Eastern Mirror and informed that he had conducted a one-day training in Kiphire, earlier this month, to seven locals of Thanamir and Fakim. He said that the trainees were taught about first aid, altitude sickness, campsite management, cleanliness and basic etiquettes of guides.

He informed that the trained guides will charge their own guide fees when required and believed that the potential for tourism in Kiphire is very high as villages like Salomi, Seyochung, Yingthere and Samphure in the district also hold great potential to be tourist destinations, especially for adventure enthusiasts.

“We want to start training on boating, rafting, rock climbing and others so that more people can sustain themselves in this part of the region,” said Lumli.

On the downside, Lumli shared that the biggest challenge is the distance of Kiphire by road, and its conditions that makes it difficult for tourists to reach the area.

The Dzüleke ecotourism initiative was started with a view to conserve the natural resources of the village, to achieve sustainable forest management. In order to take the mission forward, the Dzüleke Eco-Tourism Board (DETB) was constituted.

As a part of the initiative, DETB is promoting homestay facilities and other tourist attractions. The revenue generated from tourism activities will directly go to the service providers; a small percentage will go to the DETB for the Dzüleke Development Fund to support ongoing training, trail and facility maintenance, and village development.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), with an estimated 3.2 billion dollars spent worldwide every day, tourism creates one-tenth of jobs globally; represents 10% of world’s gross domestic product (GDP) and is 30% of world trade in services.

As the third largest export industry, travel and tourism fuel UNWTO’s long-term forecasts showing that by 2030, the number of travellers will reach 1.8 billion.

6126
By Esther Verma Updated: Sep 26, 2019 11:14:00 pm