The Garhwal Himalaya is rich in natural resources that include water, timber, minerals, and biodiversity. Equally important is the rich cultural heritage of Garhwali peoples. As a desired destination for many tourists, migrants and pilgrims, Garhwal Himalaya also offer a place of rest, solitude, adventure, recreation, and scenic beauty. For centuries, the relative remoteness and isolation of the region has resulted in less human implications and higher resource sustainability than in many lowland regions. With the combined advances in extractive resource technology and increases in leisure time, however, the implications of human activity in the regions have increased significantly. The extraction of resources has advanced with little or no reinvestment into either the ecology or the local communities that are the traditional stewards of ecosystems. Tourism in the Garhwal Himalaya represents a significant fraction of this activity, although it is probably not as important as tourism to coastal or urban areas. Here, tourism is comprised of mass tourism to popular sites, the ski industry, adventure tourism (trekking, climbing, rafting), cultural tourism, ecotourism, and pilgrimage tourism. Tourism depends on and is influenced by a number of special features related to high altitude and relative isolation.
This book is a noble effort to discuss economic and environmental implications of tourism in the Garhwal Himalaya. This book will be useful for researchers, academicians, administrators, planners, and the students who deal with tourism development in mountain regions.