KSLCDI Training of Trainers for Guides and Drivers on Responsible Tourism in Mountain Environment

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Background

The Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL) spreads across a vast region that includes remote portions of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China (TAR) and contiguous areas of Nepal and India. This area is historically, ecologically, and culturally interconnected; it is the source of four of Asia’s most important rivers, and at the heart of this landscape is the sacred Mount Kailash, revered by millions of people in Asia and throughout the world. The landscape is environmentally fragile and geopolitically sensitive. The region and its people are highly vulnerable to climate change and environmental degradation, as well as threats associated with ongoing globalisation processes and accelerating development. Tourism is a key sector for economic development in the landscape that taps into its historical, cultural and ecological significance. However, haphazard and uncontrolled tourism development will damage the ecosystems, erode cultural and spiritual values and cause irreversible damage to livelihoods from tourism sector in the long term. This is further aggravated by the consequences of local development (e.g. road construction), environmental change and globalization. Hence there is a need to identify options that can preserve and conserve the uniqueness of the landscape while also promoting investments and responsible tourism development in the KSL. Responsible tourism considers the responsibility key stakeholders have towards environmental, socio-cultural and economic aspects of the landscape in which tourism activity takes place.

The Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KSLCDI) is a constructive effort on the part of the three neighbouring countries to join hands to help preserve the unique biological diversity, the many ecosystem goods and services, and the value-based cultural heritage while developing the livelihoods of the local communities of one of the most revered and sacred transboundary landscapes in the world. In a workshop last November 2013, representatives of Chinese, Indian, and Nepali tour companies that operate Kailash-Manasarovar tours have agreed to keep the Kailash Sacred Landscape clean and collaborate towards more responsible tourism. The representatives initiated to identify ways to make tourism management more responsible in the sacred landscape. Specific roles can be identified for tour operators, other tourism facilitators, and tourists to manage their activities in the Kailash Sacred Landscape in a responsible manner and to contribute to heritage preservation, environmental conservation, and the overall local sustainable development.

During our transboundary responsible tourism workshop in November 2013 it was highlighted by tour operator representatives from all 3 countries that Tibetan guides and drivers can benefit from enhancement of skills, particularly with regards to responsible tourism leadership. Tibetan companies have selected their lead guides and drivers for a Training of Trainers, so they can be trained to pass on their newly acquired responsible tourism skills to their colleagues. 

Learning Objectives

  • Strengthen group leadership, client communication skills and problem solving;
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of guides and drivers in reducing stress on the environment;
  • Identify the types of actions guides and drivers can take to reduce impact on mountain destinations;
  • Understand socio-cultural differences between your clients, the local population and your team and learn how to manage these;
  • Strengthen your health risk management skills, particularly related to altitude, food/water and weather conditions;
  • Communicate practical ideas and actions in an effective way to your clients and service providers;
  • Recognize the key environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change;
  • Be able to educate both clients and local populations in addressing issues related to environmental impacts from tourism and climate change.

Organizers