MoT asks states to implement revised Guidelines on Adventure Tourism
The High Court of Uttarakhand has recently imposed a ban on all water-based adventure sports activities, including white water rafting, zip lining and paragliding, until a policy is framed to regulate these activities. In the order dated June 18, the court directed the state government to “prepare a transparent policy in this regard within a period of two weeks”. In view of this, 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.
“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,” said Rashmi Verma, Secretary – Tourism, Government of India.
The court remarked that “sports for pleasure cannot be permitted to end in disaster” while adding that the state government could not permit the use of rivers without fixing reasonable charges and inviting bids in a transparent procedure. Tourism must be promoted but it is required to be regulated, the court said. “We are shocked to know that the state government is permitting camping sites on river beds. It pollutes the environment and ecology of the river and the surrounding areas,” the division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Lok Pal Singh said.