Arunachal needs to follow a sustainable tourism model for development

Published on : Saturday, May 18, 2019

The picturesque Tawang monastery is one of the most stunning attractions for tourists visiting Arunachal. Arunachal Pradesh is slowly waking up to its tourism potential in current times, but over the last two decades, the western Arunachal tourist circuit, especially the Tawang-Bomdila route, has caught the fancy of many tourists.


Arunachal has unique bamboo-built houses of each community; the Assam-type houses or, for that matter, the stone-mud combination traditional houses in the Monpa areas.


However, there are also those shabby RCC buildings, mostly built for tourists, but many for residential use as well.


Hotels, rest houses, lodges, government offices and shopping complexes are all in concrete.


The hills are a total disaster. Hawaii, the headquarters of Anjaw, and Hayuliang are classic examples of how not to build towns in Arunachal’s hilly areas. With zero regard to seismology and to the fragile Himalayan ecology, these two towns are seeing a mushrooming of RCC buildings.


Arunachal offers some of the best virgin places, and the tourists visit the state only for its pristine natural beauty.


Many tourists expect facilities at par with hotels in Mumbai or Delhi. Hence, the result is an unplanned, exponential increase in urban facilities even in the remotest of areas.


But Arunachal needs to be aware of the long-term impact of this clumsy development. Also, unlike traditional homes, the hotels are a major consumer of local water resources.


Arunachal Pradesh is known for its dense primary forests and mighty free-flowing Himalayan rivers with hundreds of tributaries and smaller streams. Thus, it is very important for the state to follow a sustainable model for its tourism development, which will not be possible without the participation of the local communities. Also, homestays are the backbone of community-based tourism.


The homestay concept is slowly catching up in Arunachal, but a lot more needs to be done. Tawang, Pasighat, Ziro and Mechuka have lapped up the idea, but other districts are yet to cash in on it.


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