Workshop Responsible Tourism in Kailash Sacred Landscape – Communication Tools and Mechanisms



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. 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. 

During the transboundary responsible tourism workshop in November 2013 it was highlighted by tour operator representatives from all 3 countries that the tourism industry and local government structure can stimulate more responsible approach to tourism, especially considering environmental management, and communication mechanisms were deemed of key importance. The aim of this workshop is to reach agreement and collaboration on: 

  1. Responsible tourism communication tools and distribution channels; 
  2. Mechanisms to stimulate more responsible tourism