Role of Media in the Development of Ecotourism in Kanyakumari District
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Tourism management is an interdisciplinary approach and practice. Primarily, nature is the marketing substance in tourism – it deals with ‘nature with preservation, protection of species, and their habitats’ (Pillai, 2010). The right awareness mostly can be spread through the media only (Kumar, 2014). Only with the active collaboration with the media, the wildlife conservation movement involves common citizens, NGOs, civil society groups, research organizations, educational institutions and volunteers in protecting the endangered (Wildlife Conservation and Management in Tamil Nadu, 2016). Tourism is viewed by most governments as a means of economic development and as a result, investment in the industry is usually encouraged (Glasson, 1999). At the same time, tourism can lead to heavy damaging impacts on the environment such as increased water use, increased pollution loadings through waste and emissions, and direct and indirect disturbance to wildlife and vegetation (Fennell, 2003). This may ruin the beauty of the natural destination and the tourists reject the destinations which are polluted and natural environment is destroyed. The need of the hour is sustainable tourism that can easily be achieved through ecotourism. Therefore, tourism calls for awareness for conservation activities which can be done by the mass media. Mass media is the most powerful tool to change audience cognition, belief systems, and attitudes, as well as emotional, physiological and behavioral effects (Potter, 2012). The Government of India has taken some initiatives for the promotion of eco-tourism. Its ‘SwadeshDarshan’ under the Ministry of Tourism also funds for ecotourism. Tamil Nadu has a spectrum of scenic landscapes, pristine forests, wildlife reserves and a rich cultural heritage. Tamil Nadu has a good potentiality for the ecotourism but the steps taken by the State Government to promote ecotourism are not up to the mark. In the last three financial years, most proposed projects of Tamil Nadu had not been sanctioned due to the non-submission of utilization certificates for tourism projects sanctioned earlier. The media should properly inform the public about the funds and needs of ecotourism. It can do a lot for the economic growth and natural conservation. This paper is in an attempt to study the scope of ecotourism in modern life. Ecotourism not only supports the local communities but also deals with environmental conservation and awareness. The most important element of ecotourism is that cultural, historical and geographical information exchange through real experience. As tourism supports economic development, it has another side of environmental degradation. Negative impacts from tourism arises when the quantum of visitors is greater than the environment's ability to cope with.
Mass Media, Tourism, Natural Tourism, Ecotourism, Social Change, Environment Conservation.