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Thursday, 28 June, 2018, 16 : 00 PM [IST]

MoT asks states to implement revised Guidelines on Adventure Tourism

Call comes in the wake of a ban by the Uttarakhand HC on all water-based adventure sports activities
In the wake of ban on all water-based adventure sports activities, including white water rafting, zip lining and paragliding in Uttarakhand by the High Court last week, the Union Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has urged state governments to implement the revised Guidelines for Adventure Tourism in India in letter and spirit as early as possible. MoT had recently brought out revised Guidelines for Adventure Tourism in India in collaboration with the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI), where guidelines and protocols have been laid out for 28 adventure activities. 

When asked for views on the ban, Rashmi Verma, Secretary - Tourism, Government of India, stated that MoT has already issued revised Guidelines for Adventure Tourism to the states, and it is now for them to implement the same. “The safety and environmental concerns raised by the High Court before banning water adventure activities in Uttarakhand are addressed in the new Adventure Tourism Guidelines issued by the Ministry. It is up to the states to implement those guidelines, and our Ministry is in dialogue with concerned authorities in the states to put the Guidelines into practice.”

The Tourism Secretary expressed confidence that the ban would be lifted within a month if the state shows the will to implement the Guidelines and produces the proof of strict implementation to the HC. 

Meanwhile, the tourism industry in the Uttarakhand has expressed concern on the blanket ban imposed on water-based adventure activities in the state. 

Capt. Swadesh Kumar, President, ATOAI, stated that the ban is very unfortunate for the travel and tourism industry of Uttarakhand. “The decision is taken by the High Court so that the state government becomes active and implements safety and environment protection measures. ATOAI in association with MoT has already issued Guidelines which the state government should bring into practice with immediate effect for lifting the ban, and also for improving the standards of Adventure Tourism in the state,” he added.

According to Akshay Kumar, CEO, Mercury Himalayan Explorations Ltd., the ban is not only shocking, but also unfair. "The industry stakeholders were not made party to the case and the government failed to highlight the fact that we already have a policy in place for white water rafting in Uttarakhand. The ban has come towards the end of the season, but has still led to a loss of face and revenue in crores to the industry. Bookings that were made months in advance have had to be cancelled and most hotels are going empty since the ban."

Sahib Gulati, Director of Marketing, EllBee Ganga View Hotel – Rishikesh, stated that the ban is not the solution to the problem of safety and degradation of environment due to adventure activities in the state. “Rather than a ban, a resolution is needed to fix these issues. It is the responsibility of state government to come up with resolutionary measures and bring the status of Adventure Tourism in the state back to normal. I am a member of Uttarakhand Hotel Association and our association has reached out to the government to discuss the matter and come up with steps to address the concerns.” 

 
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