Workshop on Ecologically and Socially Sustainable Tourism


10th,11th and 12th March 2016

Equations and Sambhaavnaa Institute are organizing a 3-day workshop on Sustainable Tourism in Himachal from the 10th to 12th of March 2016. The workshop will be for practitioners, researchers of ecologically and socially responsible tourism as well as groups and activists resisting mainstream market-based tourism.

A Background: Living in the mountains, along the coasts, in the most magnificent landscapes, in a country on the path of relentless economic growth, is no longer the same as it was two decades ago. More and more of the remote and so-called "pristine" areas are under threat from the commercial tourism industry which rapidly alters the economy, landscapes, cultures, and lives of people who reside in these areas for the worse. For those of us concerned about extractive and corporate tourism adversely impacting the community and environment, there have been two very clear responses - one, which resists mainstream tourism and the other which explores the participation of local people in creating models of sustainable tourism. The latter has also emerged in the face of dwindling livelihoods options in the countryside, especially for the youth who are getting slowly alienated from the landscape. But is sustainable tourism, really possible? What are the challenges in front of communities and the environment when such experiments have been undertaken and how can we learn from them.And if it is possible, is it really the answer to the demise of agrarian and other traditional economies and urban out-migration? Can tourism be managed and directed in ways that strengthen rather than merely substitute land-based economies? Can a critical tourism emerge that helps resist, rather than abet corporate globalization?

This workshop aims to bring together practitioners of ecologically and socially sustainable tourism and those questioning mainstream tourism to articulate and analyze the current scenario along two trajectories – one of the mainstream tourism and the second of the challenges of those attempting alternative community based responsible tourism

The Schedule

DAY I. Wider context: Resisting Corporate and Profit Oriented tourism

Current models of tourism - Implications of market mechanization on those practicing ecologically and socially sustainable tourism and/or those resisting mainstream tourism.
How policy is currently favoring the mainstream market-oriented tourism industry
Role of judiciary in interpreting law vis-a-vis tourism in ecologically sensitive areas.

DAY II. Our experiences: Sustainable Tourism: An oxymoron or the alternative?

How has mainstream tourism been challenged? Sharing of experiences of participant groups
What are the impacts of these alternate forms of tourism on communities and ecology? Reality Check
What are the key models that have been experimented with and how do they integrate principles of equity and ecological balance in them

DAY III. Future Course of Action:

Different strategies adopted by groups present to achieve their objectives (by both - practitioners or resistors).
Discuss the need for and relevance of collectivizing to promote our vision of tourism.


Groups working in hills and mountains, river valleys, deserts, forests, and coasts.

What we expect to achieve through this workshop:

Cross-learning from each other's experiences

Possibility of a platform of groups working on ecologically and socially responsible tourism to influence tourism policy to support such initiatives and challenge mainstream tourism practices.

Logistical Details:

The workshop is being co-organised by Equations and Sambhaavnaa Institute, Himachal Pradesh. The venue of the workshop will be Sambhaavnaa Institute at Kandbari, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. See how to get to Sambhaavnaa

Since we have limited resources we hope that participants applying would be able to contribute  Rs. 1500/- towards their food and stay as program fees. To apply please fill the form here

For program details contact: +91-9448474911
For more details on the logistics contact +91-8894227954