Himachal is bestowed with unique
features in its climate, its rich natural and man-made
above all, the warm and peace loving people. This is what
projects Himachal as one of the top five tourist destinations
in the country, both for domestic as well as international
visitors. As per estimates, roughly around 60 lakh tourists
visit the State every year, as much as its actual population.
However much of the tourism related activities are concentrated
in the four major hill stations of Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala
and Dalhousie. Due to this lop-sided growth pattern, the
bulk of the tourist does not get an opportunity to visit
the ‘country side’ leave alone our forests
and sanctuaries which are indeed a paradise for the discerning
Himachal Pradesh has legally classified forest
area of 37,033 Sq. Kms., which is 66% of the total geographical
area. Out of
the area designated as forests, 12% area is under Protected Area
Network. The per capita availability of forests in Himachal is
0.22 hectares, against the national average of 0.06 hectares.
According to the reports of the Forest Survey of India, Himachal
Pradesh during the last few years has registered an increase
of 1859 Sq. Kms. in the forest cover. This increase is about
9% of the culturable forest area of the State. A small State
like Himachal, which has only 1.7% of the geographical area of
the country, has contributed a remarkable 4.5% of the net increase
in the forest cover of the country. In addition the State has
32 wildlife sanctuaries and two National Parks. The State is
a treasure house, both for plants as well as wild life. It is
also home to some of the rare and endangered species like Snow
Leopard, Musk Deer, Himalayan Brown Bear and among pheasants,
the Western-horned Tragopan which has been bred in captivity
for the first time in the world in H.P.
The Revised Eco-Tourism Policy aims to bring the wilderness
of Himachal closer to the tourist visiting the State and at the
same time attempts to put in place adequate safeguards and systems
leading to the preservation of these natural resources. By involving
the local communities, the policy would help improve their prosperity
through increased livelihood opportunities. It would also ensure
adequate economic returns to the State which would be ploughed
back into the environmental system for its proper up keep and
The vision is to preserve and protect the natural heritage, both
flora and fauna, of Himachal Pradesh and attract discerning
tourists and visitors to the State; and in the bargain provide
opportunities to enhance livelihood of the local people and
alongside generate revenue for the sustainable development
of its resources through the creation of a special purpose
vehicle (SPV). The Eco-Tourism Policy would encourage a partnership
between the SPV on the one hand and the civil society (local
communities, NGOs, academic institutions and private enterprises/businesses)
and the State (Forest, Tourism and Fisheries Department) on
3. MISSION STATEMENT
To make Himachal Pradesh a leading Eco-tourism Destination in
the Country by 2010.
To achieve the above mission, the Policy seeks to pursue the
Create appreciation, education and awareness
of natural heritage of Himachal Pradesh. The State will emerge
as a resource center and a leading destination with reference
to eco-tourism for the entire country and the Greater Himalayan
Enunciate mechanisms for partnerships in eco-tourism
both with the local communities as well as private enterprise
committed to the goals of eco- tourism.
Identify and promote activities in tandem with the
principles of community-based eco-tourism with the benefits
accruing to the local community in terms of income as well
as employment generation.
Ensure safeguards from environment point of view to
effectively regulate the ecotourism activities in forest
To generate resource through the Special Purpose Vehicle
from the assets made available to it by the Forest Deptt.
which would be used to create and maintain the assets.
To create a cadre of personnel within and outside the
Forest Deptt. who are sensitive to the tenets of eco-tourism
and can act as resource persons to further its cause.
To actively coordinate with the Tourism, Fisheries,
Handicrafts, Culture, YSS, HMI (Himalayan Mountaineering
Institute) and other related Deptts. to further the cause
of eco- tourism.
To actively promote the concept of homesteads in
rural areas connected with eco-tourism so that the income
accrues to the local people.
To implement CBET (Community Based Eco-Tourism) concepts
with the involvement of local communities, voluntary organizations,
staff of the HPFD and other departments.
To undertake sustainable public-private partnerships
with regard to Government properties in the field of eco-tourism
with the ermission of the Govt. of HP and to raise funds
To decongest the over-loaded tourist places so that
the benefits of tourism are spread to rural areas. It will
work in tandem with the Rural Tourism Scheme of the Department