Special Issue 1, December 2009
Article Number: 09
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Perceptions on community based eco-tourism and rural development: Case study on Sindhudurg

M.S. Kulkarni
Pages 49-56

Abstract—Many countries are using tourism development as instruments of policy to bring about regional development. It is considered a painless therapy for many socio-economic ills, especially for economically backward areas bereft of other development options. However, in most cases such tourism development projects are „growth centered‟ rather than „community-centered‟. It does not achieve the goal of meeting the needs of the local people. Since such developments give more consideration to visitors as against residents, it creates conflicts and fails to achieve authentic development having domination of externals. It has spoiled the original identity of a resident community. Government of India also has taken up tourism promotion as a development strategy and Special Tourism Area (STA) status has been conferred on the certain areas which have been identified to have immense tourism potential but have remained economically backward. Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra state of India is the first example of the district which is being selected as STA by Government of India and Special Tourism District by Government of Maharashtra. Communities resisted the proposed development vociferously and opposed acquisition of private lands and the changes that are likely to take place in their local resource based lifestyle and livelihood patterns. The present paper endeavors to review the tourism policies for Sindhudurg District and especially the tourist taluka of Malvan which is identified as the most prospective taluka for tourism development. The study also would analyze resident‟s perceptions to the proposed development. Conclusions would be based on the primary data collected from the site visits and by conducting detailed interview schedules with the stakeholders.

Keywords—eco-tourism, Sindhudurg District, tourism development, tourism policies.