Ecotourism has a vital role to play in sustainable development in India and in creating a framework for the inclusion of the marginalised non-urban communities, excluded from the economic growth currently being witnessed. This requires a shift in attitudes from regulation and control to empowerment, from patronage to partnership, and from linear government-led structures to alliances with diverse stakeholders. It can be achieved by a well articulated partnership policy that cascades into a viable business plan with clear mission statements and strict monitoring and evaluation criteria. While ecotourism projects need to be financially independent to remain sustainable without grants and subsidies, the primary pillars of community involvement and enhancement of the environment are paramount in measuring the success. While learning from experiences elsewhere, it is important to internalise indigenous knowledge and to adapt methodologies in a site-specific context. Transparent measurement and evaluation criteria are critical to ensure success.
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Vol. 10 • No. 2