4.Ecotourism: an adversity in itself with special reference to Jammu& Kashmir
Naseer Ahmad Magray
Abstract: Tourism industry is the fastest growing service industry in the world and a source of employment generation & economic development with its multiplier effect. Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has a greater potential to become one of the best tourism destinations in the world with its geographic location, mesmerizing scenery, unending attractions and virgin valleys. This state truly has been a perfect destination for ecotourism. Ecotourism being a product of tourism is intended as a low-impact alternative to conventional mass tourism which leaves behind a less negative impact on the environment, increase the level of education and activism among travellers, making them more enthusiastic and effective agents of conservation and serve as a viable mean of economic development for local communities. In other words, ecotourism is a mixture of conventional tourism with a twist of conservation and sustainable development. In J&K Ecotourism operations occasionally fail to live up to conservation ideals. Irrespective of many efforts made by the stakeholders of ecotourism development to sustainably develop ecotourism projects keeping in view the natural and cultural preservation, the mass tourism brought many negative impacts beside the significant positive impacts on local environment. By going through the existing literature on the subject, the present study attempts to find out; if the image of ecotourism in J&K portrayed theoretically have the same implications when it comes to its practical applicability? Or the reality lies far away from the theory? Keywords: Tourism, J&K, Ecotourism, Conservation, Ecology, Local communities, Indigenous culture and sustainable development.