HIMALAYAN TOURISM & PROMOTION ORGANIZATION{HTPO}
{REGD NO.845/2003-2004}
SISTER ORGANIZATION OF PARVATIYA JANKALYAN SANSTHAN{PJKS}

WHY THIS INITIATIVE

Ecofragile mountain state of Uttarakhand has limited the livelihood options for the communities. Agriculture, supplemented by animal husbandry forms the mainstay of the economy for a vast majority of the population. With nearly 60% of the land area under the forests, the local people depend on forests for  the local requirements of fuel wood, fodder and timber. A large number of people also find supplementary employment in the collection and marketing of NTFPs (including the valuable high altitude medicinal plants). However, with the rapidly increasing population there is a growing pressure upon forests hampering their regeneration process.

Thus there is an urgent need to shift the pressure from the forests through promotion of alternative employment opportunities. Tourism is a significant emerging economic sector for the state, providing alternative employment and income opportunities for local people. Uttarakhand lies beautiful landscapes, mountain peaks, sacred rivers, trekking trails, national parks, sanctuaries, and archaeological and historical sites. As a result the region offers various tourist attractions and pilgrimage spots.

However, presently tourist activities in the state are being controlled and managed by a limited few, such as hoteliers, tour operators and restaurant owners. Only a small proportion of revenue from tourism trickles down to the local communities. Moreover, uncontrolled tourist activities are also causing extensive damage to the local environment and cultures. Thus, a need is felt for promoting sustainable tourism in the state, which would result; in increased employment and incomes to local people; reducing their dependency upon the forests; and in mitigating the negative environmental impacts of tourism.

ABOUT THE ORGANISATION

HIMALAYAN TOURISM & PROMOTION ORGANIZATION is registered under society registration Act in 2003,vide Regd. No:- 845/2003-2004.The HTPO ORGANIZATION has been working IN ASSOCIATION with PARVATIYA JAN KALYAN SANSTHAN in different Social cum Development projects in Uttarakhand. Since last one decade HTPO have been working with the rural and underprivileged community for their sustainable development in the Health & Economic Security, Social & Cultural Preservation,SHG’S for women livelihood, Environmental & Educational security with a dedicated team who have commitment for Accountability and Transparency in Social & Rural Development Sector.

A HIMALAYAN YOG EVAM PRAKRITIK SIKSHAN SANSTHAN College is also being run by the organization which is affiliated by the UTTARAKHAND SANSKRIT UNIVERISTY under which the Student/beneficiaries is getting benefit of the income oriented/professional courses.

Goal – Provide sustainable self-employment opportunities to the rural poor.

Beneficiaries – Directly 1000 Swarozgaris(Self employed individuals), spread amongst 50 village based SHGs. 500 of them will be females.
Indirectly entire family of all Swarozgaris. Nearly 250 households will get employment in allied activities.

The Area & People
 3 Development Blocks of the Pauri district.
 Total population of the district is nearly 7.5 lakhs
 Population of SC and ST nearly 14% of the total population.

Local Realities

 Subsistence agriculture coupled with animal husbandry and horticulture.
 Lack of adequate employment opportunities.
 Migration of youth – Money order economy.
 Large number of tourists visit the area but most of the revenue from tourism goes to big businessmen rather than to local communities.

Activities…..

 Information/Marketing Centre set up at Srinagar town enroute to Badrinath and Kedarnath, to attract tourists and make them aware of the concept of our work.
 E-marketing – through a comprehensive website providing information as well as online booking.
 Linkages with relevant line departments government organisations and travel agents.
 Marketing of organic produce done by Federation in the nearby cities and in places of tourist interest
 A Demonstration Centre to guide the Swarozgaris to develop their huts into guest houses/restaurants relying upon traditional architecture.
 Traditional architecture, traditional food and folk media promoted to attract tourists.
 Federation of SHGs for monitoring and synchronizing project activities and for sustaining the project interventions.
 Capacity building of Swarozgaris and Federation members.

THE PROJECT

The HTPO project aims to promote eco-tourism & Rural development in the districts of Uttarakhand. It aims to create a replicable model for adoption throughout the state.

It has the following missionary objectives:

 To reduce the pressure on the forests by providing communities with long-term sustainable, self-employment opportunities in eco-tourism and related activities.
 To protect the fragile Himalayan environment through awareness generation amongst the tourists and local people about the need to protect the natural resources.
 To create a replicable model of eco-tourism which could be replicated in other parts of the state.
 To conserve biodiversity through the cultivation of medicinal plants, traditional agriculture and also horticulture.

PROJECT AREA
The project will be implemented in the first phase of Tehri district of Uttarakhand. It shall initially target 15 villages on the route to the treks to famous tourist destination including, Ghansali,Budhakedar,Masartal, Sahasratal, Khatling Glacier, Pawalikantha etc. A large number of tourists already visit their areas but they hardly contribute anything to the local economy as all the arrangements are made through travel agents located in the metros. Moreover, in the absence of any mechanism for regulating the activity of tourists the tourist activities also result in environmental damage.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES
Following main activities are proposed  under the project:

Community Mobilisation
Rapport building with the communities, making them understands the concept and scope of the project and involving them in all stages of implementation of the project would be the initial activity. Although, it is very important to mention that while formulating the concept detailed discussions with the communities were conducted that it is the local people who have shown the desire for this kind of a project.

Eco-tourism Development Committee
An Eco-tourism Development Committee (EDC) shall be formed in the project area. The EDC shall comprise of the stakeholders (guides, porters, restaurant and lodge owners etc.) and shall be separately registered under the Societies Registration Act. HTPO shall assist in the formation and registration of this committee. The key functionaries of EDC shall be given skills related to leadership, financial management, record keeping, and marketing and environmental management.

The rural entrepreneurs, who are provided trainings and other support through this project, will be taken as the members of the EDC. The EDC shall have the following roles:
 Monitor and supervise the project activities including, capacity building, marketing, environmental conservation etc.
 At the end of the first year (once they start earning), all members of the EDC shall pay a membership fee to the EDC (mutually decided by the community as per the nature of trade of the members i.e. different rates for guides, restaurant owners, lodge owners etc.).
 On the reservations made through the information centre and website EDC shall charge a service fee from the rural entrepreneurs.
 The membership fee and service fee accumulated with the EDC shall be utilized for environmental conservation.
 The EDC shall be handed over the entire responsibility of the project at the end of the project duration. All materials and equipments related to this project with PJKS shall be entrusted to the EDC.
 The website and information center developed through the project shall also be independently managed by the EDC.
 At the end of the project duration the EDC shall also be responsible for maintaining its website and key staff members required for marketing activities. These costs shall be borne through the revenue generated by the EDC.

Skill Development
Specialized trainings shall be provided to the community members in various tourism related activities. Although the local people have traditional engagement in number of tourist related occupations yet in order to perform their tasks more professionally specialized trainings shall be provided to them in hotel and restaurant management, animal husbandry, organic farming and cookery, cultivation of medicinal plants, poultry, cooking, bakery and food processing. Community will also be trained as professional guides and photographers.

Lodge development activities
HTPO shall build a small Demonstration Center at one of the project villages comprising of a model guesthouse and a restaurant. This is to guide and encourage the local people to renovate their building and at the same time retaining the flavor of traditional architecture in the buildings so that they appeal to the tourists.A demo model of renovating huts shall be prepared and demonstrated so that some persons may even upgrade their huts into guesthouses. The provision of necessary facilities to the tourists in terms of sanitation, clean and hygienic food, hot water facilities shall also be focused upon.

Promoting traditional cuisine
The traditions and cultures of the area shall be promoted and made interesting for the tourists. The traditional Garhwali Cuisine shall be promoted in the villages and traditional food grains like Mandua, Jhangora, Kulath shall be served to the tourists. The tourists shall also be made aware about the medicinal properties of these food items and the fact that these are organically grown would be highlighted. This may prompt visitors on their return to buy these grains from the villages resulting in extra source of income for the local farmers and shopkeepers.

Cultural Programmes
Cultural programmes shall be organised for the tourists in the form of folk dances, plays and songs.Women shall be given priority in these activities. Local fairs and festivals shall be publicized so as to catch the attention of the tourists. Similarly, traditional handicrafts shall also be promoted as a means of income generation. The women shall also be able to sell pickles, papads, chutneys etc. to the tourists.

Cultivation of medicinal plants
Tourism provides seasonal business.In order to make up for the seasonality factor this project aims to promote other highly rewarding activities amongst the people such as the cultivation of medicinal plants to supplement their income. During the off-season the villages would be taking up the cultivation of medicinal plants which may fetch anywhere between Rs. 40,000 – Rs. 60,000 per annum per acre.

Promotion of Ayurvedic Healings
Himalayas are a treasure house of medicinal plants and there are a large number of traditional medical practitioners (Vaidyas) in Uttarakhand who provide excellent ayurvedic treatment. Under this project in each village an ayurvedic treatment center shall be opened on similar lines as the Ayurvedic massage centers in Kerala. In these centers the traditional Vaidyas shall provide ayurvedic medicines and revitalizing medicinal plants to the tourists. This shall not only serve as an important source of revenue for the people but shall also be an added attraction for the tourists, especially foreign tourists.

Marketing
The target segment under this project comprises domestic as well as foreign tourists and in particular:
 Nature lovers
 People interested to know about the rural life
 Wild life enthusiasts
 Writers needing peace and tranquility
 Adventure sport lovers.
 Trekkers and hikers.

Keeping this target segment in mind for marketing the concept a multi pronged strategy shall be used.

Website
A website shall be developed and launched for promoting tourism in the region. It shall contain information related to the places of tourist interest in the area, the unique facilities offered to the tourists, photographs of the area and also facilities to make online bookings. This website would make people from India as well as abroad attracted to the project area.

Information Center
An information center shall be set up on the major tourist route (yatra route) in order to attract the tourists to visit the project area. Thus, a large number of people would get to know about the project and interested tourists would be able to make bookings also at the centre. They would also be given leaflets providing information about the area. Photographs and documentaries (featuring the project area) would also be shown to the tourists.

The support of government organisations such as the Uttarkhand Tourism Development Board, Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam, Kumaoun Mandal Vikas Nigam shall be taken up for promoting the project. GMVN and KMVN shall advertise about the project area and the concept in their various hotels throughout the state and in their tourist information bureaus. At the same time in the project area the various resorts of GMVN and KMVN shall be advertised. At places of tourist interest in Uttaranchal information about the area shall be made available to the tourists. Linkages shall be established with travel agents in various parts of India as well as abroad for getting regular bookings. Several partner NGOs of PJKS shall also assist PJKS in promoting this concept and in getting bookings.

Ploughing back of profits for environmental conservation
A part of the revenue earned through the project shall be used for environmental conservation. This shall be ploughed back in the form of membership fee with the EDC and a certain percentage of service fee charged by the EDC when it gets reservations for the rural entrepreneurs. Plantation activities, cleaning polythene waste from the trek route, facilitating natural regeneration in the forests would be some of the activities that would be taken up.

IMPACTS

Environmental impactsThis project shall provide alternate sources of livelihoods for the local people and reduce their dependency upon the forests as a means of livelihood. It shall also lead to the promotion of eco-tourism in the area and the local people would also keep a check over the tourists so that they do not damage the environment. The communities would have vested interests in the protection of the natural resources that sustain their newfound profession.

The project would also increase the awareness amongst the tourists about the need for responsible tourism. A part of the revenue generated through the project shall also go towards taking up plantation, polythene-cleaning drives etc.

Income generationThis is based upon the present levels of tourism in the project area and the expected increase in tourist activities subsequent to project implementation. It is estimated that on an average a guest house owner would earn up Rs. 42,000 in the first year and his earning would go up to Rs. 99,000 in the second year. The restaurant owners on the other hand would earn similar amount in the first year, which would soar to Rs. 76,000 in the second year. Those engaged in animal husbandry would supply milk and milk products to the guest houses and restaurants. At the same time they would also sell the manure to those indulged in organic farming. A dairyist is expected to earn Rs. 30,000 in the first year. The farmer would grow traditional crops such as mandua, jhangora, kulath etc. as well as cultivate medicinal plants and vegetables. The farmers engaged in organic farming are expected to earn more than Rs. 30,000 per annum (average land under cultivation 10 nali). Each women member engaged in food processing and poultry is expected to earn Rs. 35,000 per annum. Guides would earn as per the prevalent rates i.e. Rs. 200 per day plus meals. The equipment being provided by the Equipment suppliers and they are expected to earn between Rs. 30,000 – 40,000 per year. The tourists would also be entertained through cultural programmes like folk dances, folk songs, fairs and festivals and this would be an additional income for the women.

Snowball effect – Tourism is an important industry for Uttarakhand. This project would act as a replicable model for promoting eco-tourism in this state. People from different parts of the state could come and learn through this project.

FLOW CHART DEPICTING PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION: