Overtraveling: Do you ruin the place you love?

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Photo of Overtraveling: Do you ruin the place you love? by Sagnik Basu

Tourism in India saw no bounds in the past decade, as the western media portrayed the nation as home to exotic locations, filled with diverse entities which help you find the true you. Every season, the country hosted lakhs of backpackers, pilgrims and genuine tourists. No place was out of the internet’s reach, ergo no place was out of the tourist’s reach. Tourism began to overflow.

 This being one of the many examples how wanderlust boosted the economy of a place and what followed was a chain reaction of unsustainable actions.

No one ever wonders, “By driving to the next undiscovered place, do I just ruin it?” We simply love these place to death and whilst returning we moan, “Man, that place was better off ten years ago.” Backpacking, today is a commercialized term which has lit the generation to travel more often. But are travel writers to be blamed for what came next. Increase in visitors is never a problem for a location, unsustainable tourism practices are to blame. Locals of a place end up being shortsighted, when they size up the fact that their homeland draws a considerable number of people, many of whom have a cash hole in their pocket. Trying to weigh in on this by building resorts, hotels and other forms of business is the obvious next step. But none can actually blame these people for trying to feed their children by following the basic 101s of capitalism. The real problem lies within certain environmental rules which are as feeble as a tourist’s will to not dirty the place he/she is visiting. Certain people can hear the nature’s cry and truly understand the need to protect trees, these are the people who frame environmental restrictions. On the other hand, people need to eat and clearing up land to set up their business is the way to do so. Obviously people are going to choose saving their livelihood over saving the environment. Greenwashing is a term referring to the pretend practice of involving in environment friendly actions. Besides locals, large corporations have tapped into the resources by using factors like low wages and corrupt officials.

Development is good, but unshackled development makes it difficult for nature to breathe. The media will portray the destination as a ‘blossoming’ one, because to an onlooker what earlier was long stretch of greens, today is filled with people and a smaller stretch of greens.

We visit these places because travelling is the loophole we found in reality, would we not want out children and grandchildren to relish the same?

People can change, they will make the right choice when they are provided with the right information. Choose eco-friendly vendors, avoid over developed destinations, have a look at the environmental records of the place you are staying at and choose an agent which will help you make a change. Travel not only to change your life, but also others by contributing in volunteer works and such.

Tourism is a bulk business, but it’s not the bulk which matters. What matters how tourism is handled. Make better choices while travelling, or you could be the very last person to breathe in the place in all of its grandeur.

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