e-cigarette review NEWS: 'Why do visitors feed animals, litter in zoo?'

Saturday, February 25, 2012

'Why do visitors feed animals, litter in zoo?'

Tourism dept, through a team of students, is studying conduct of visitors to better understand issues hampering environment at popular destinations
In-depth analysis: The team of students, hired by MTDC, recently visited Elephanta Caves and found many tourists littering in and across the island. Representation pic
In-depth analysis: The team of students, hired by MTDC, recently visited Elephanta Caves and found many tourists littering in and across the island. Representation pic

Unknowingly, tourists in Maharashtra are currently part of a splayed experiment with potentially far-reaching consequences. No need to be alarmed! In order to save the environment and develop ecotourism, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is now studying behavioural patterns of visitors at the state's various hot spots. In fact, the corporation has hired students of mass communication, to study the conduct of tourists in different conditions. Places such as Elephanta Caves, Matheran, Alibaug etc are part of the survey.

No monkey business
Explaining the reason behind the study, Kishori Gadre, general manager, MTDC, said, "For instance, in places such as zoos or national parks, tourists tend to feed monkeys, and there are times the deportment of the simians changes for the worse. Hence, to curb this, we need to know which tourist spot has what specific issues. Recently, the team of students visited Elephanta Caves and found many tourists littering in and across the island. A similar pattern can be seen in Matheran, which has been declared an eco-sensitive region by Ministry of Environment And Forests (MOEF)." MTDC has now sought funds for making two popular hill stations of Maharashtra -- Matheran and Mahabaleshwar -- zero-garbage destinations.

MiD DAY had reported on January 31 (State govt wakes up to economics of ecotourism) about a first-of-its-kind initiative in which MTDC and the state forest department have joined hands to try and make Maharashtra an enticing place to visit. Apart from regulating vehicular traffic at tourist spots, including seashore, the corporation has also decided to henceforth construct more green buildings.

"Before we work towards ecotourism, we also need to understand various issues that are hampering the environment. The need of the hour was to infer the behavioural pattern of tourists first. We are seeking expertise from various travel and hospitality institutes. We need to bring about the necessary changes without straining cultural and communal sentiments," Gadre added.

Short work

The corporation is now making short films and ads on the subject, which will soon be screened at theatres and through other social mediums. "A film is ready; the posters are too. Our first initiative will be to educate and promote ecotourism across the state. We will be seeking help from various communities for the development of these tourist spots," said Dilip Shinde, joint managing director, MTDC. However, tourists who are regulars to hill stations in the state feel the government needs to spend more on improving basic amenities rather than studying the behavioural pattern of visitors.

"If facilities such as toilets, waste bins, security guards, life guards etc are in place, no tourist would dream of spoiling the environment. First you need to take care of these aspects rather than just studying the tourists' behavioural pattern," said Ashish Singh, an MBA student from Navi Mumbai. Thane resident Kunal Punjwani feels the funds allocated for tourism are never spent on the development of these places.

"People want to rush off to Goa, even though we have the beautiful Konkan belt here. Unfortunately there is no fun when you visit these areas. All thanks to the tourism department, which just discusses grand plans of water sports etc, but the fact is other states are more capable of wooing tourists though they don't have as many beautiful destinations as Maharashtra," he said.

Did you know?

With 2011-12 being observed as tourism year in the state, grand plans have been made to lure travellers. The corporation has been handed a grant of Rs 40 cr for promoting ecotourism and Rs 265 crore to revamp beaches, caves and forts in the state


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