3.Ecotourism a viable option for Livelihood and Sustenance in Jammu & Kashmir
M. H. Wani and Arshad Bhat
Abstract: Kashmir is home to many tourist destinations with a lot of natural beauty. But due to overflow of tourists and mismanagement at places like Dal Lake, Gulmarg etc. number of problems/issues has come to forefront. Kashmir possesses various undisturbed natural areas which provide a lot of scope for ecotourism. It will also lead to the empowerment of local people who have suffered a lot due to political turmoil. Jammu and Kashmir with its natural diversity is one of the unspoilt places of the country for ecotourism. Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonmarg, Kokarnag are some of the best spots which are visited by tourists for ecotourism in Jammu and Kashmir. Ecotourism is much more than a phrase for those who love nature for travel and recreation. Resources are being exploited unscientifically at most of the places. There is unscientific harnessing of naturals well as human resources which makes environment and people vulnerable to various adverse effects like environmental degradation, floods, droughts, climate change, poverty, hunger, mal-nutrition, political and social tensions worldwide. Present study aims to identify key determining factors that examine the scope of ecotourism potential of the selected area by analysing the pattern of visit of tourists (profiling), examining the main purpose of visit and study of perception of visitors. Therefore, it is the perfect time for the development of ecotourism in Kashmir which can have a profound impact on all the spheres of life in the valley of Kashmir.