Eco-tourism has been identified as one of the Niche Tourism areas by the Ministry of Tourism for development in the country.
Promotion and Development of tourism, including Eco-Tourism, is the primary responsibility of the State Governments/UT Administrations. However, Ministry of Tourism provides financial assistance under Swadesh Darshan Scheme for the development of tourism-related infrastructure and facilities in the country. Recognizing the potential for the development of Ecotourism in the country, the Ministry of Tourism has identified “Eco Circuit” as one of the 15 thematic circuits under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
The projects under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme are identified for development in consultation with the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations and are sanctioned subject to availability of funds, submission of suitable detailed project reports, adherence to scheme guidelines and utilization of funds released earlier. Submission of project proposals by the State Government and its sanctioning is a continuous process.
Ministry of Tourism has been laying stress on maintenance of environmental integrity, considering the importance of developing tourism in an ecologically sustainable manner. The Ministry of Tourism has evolved Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) for major segments of the tourism industry, namely accommodation, tour operators, beaches, backwaters, lakes and river sectors, etc., applicable for the entire country. The Criteria has been evolved after consultations with the various stakeholders. Ministry of Tourism has made it mandatory for the approved tourism service providers such as tour operators, adventure tour operators, travel agents etc., to follow the Code of Conduct for safe and sustainable Tourism.
This information was given by Minister of Tourism Shri G. Kishan Reddy in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.