"If India was the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire, the remote North East of that country is its Hidden Jewel" …Tony Howard …Tony Howard

  • Ethical Tourism Policy

"As a general goal, Eco-tourism should provide an opportunity to develop tourism in ways that minimise the industry's negative impacts and actively promote the conservation of earth's unique bio-diversity. If handled properly, ecotourism can be a valuable tool for financing the protection of ecologically sensitive areas and the socio-economic development of populations living in or close to them. "

Klaus Toepfer
Executive Director, UN Environment programme

Ashoka recognises the following and encourages its guests to act accordingly:

  • For tourism to succeed, it must improve the livelihoods of the local population, aid environmental regeneration and conservation and empower local communities

  • The needs of local people must be addressed first and they must be involved from the outset in all aspects of conservation and development, including tourism

  • The rights of indigenous host communities, whether involved in tourism or not, should be properly respected 

  • Local people are the guardians of the natural and cultural resources that tourists come to see and should be actively encouraged to take a leading role in development and conservation 

  • Local people should be in the mainstream of conservation activity where they feel resources belong to them and therefore must be protected. 

  • The rational management of tourism should contribute significantly to the protection and development of the physical environment and cultural heritage as well as improving the quality of life for local communities

  • Tourism should not increase pressure on local resources. Decreasing or even eliminating the use of local fuel wood for the tourism industry is a priority, and of particular importance to the conservation of mountain ecosystems. Use of alternative energy sources not only reduces the need to burn wood in tourist lodges, but also provides a source of energy in ordinary village households. 

  • Training and manpower development forms a major contribution towards realising the benefits of tourism and serves to build bridges and instil confidence among communities and development organisations

  • An appropriate level of tourism receipts should be made available to finance environmental management and conservation at the same time as ensuring an overall improvement in the living standards of the local community.
  • Community tourism projects should be encouraged

  • Trails should be built or repaired where necessary

  • Porters rights must be respected

  • Disposal of human waste and other garbage should be adequately dealt with. Litter and the indiscriminate disposal of human waste, and the associated threats to health and the environment are serious concerns.

Ashoka will work with local communities and organisations to

  • conserve natural and cultural resources for all generations.

  • bring about sustainable economic and social development.

  • develop tourism with minimum negative environmental impacts. 

  • increase local awareness of environmental issues. 

  • increase community participation in resource conservation and local development. 

  • introduce appropriate and practical fuel-saving technology. 

  • ensure there is a basic infrastructure to accommodate tourists

  • ensure that the rights of porters are respected, that proper equipment is available for them and that they receive fair compensation for their work

  • ensure that local householders and communities working with tourism receive fair compensation
Ashoka thanks n.o.m.a.d.s. and The Mountain Forum for highlighting issues from 'Tourism Development and Environmental Management in Nepal', in particular, the studies of Sagarmatha National Park and the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, which have inspired this policy. For permission to base their policy on this study, and use extracts from the study, they are particularly grateful to its author, Gary Walder, The International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Management, Bournemouth University, England.


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