The Tourism sector leaves a large footprint that impacts the sustainability of the environment, natural resources, wildlife, culture and communities. Our survival, and that of our future generations, depends on how sustainable our businesses are -economically, environmentally and socio-culturally. Action today is imperative.
The ‘Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI)’, earlier known as the ‘Ecotourism Society of India- (ESOI) was established with this purpose by senior and committed industry professionals and senior government functionaries in 2008 with recognition by the ‘Ministry of Tourism’ Govt of India as it’s Sustainability Partner and supported by eminent environmentalists. The then Hon’ble Tourism Minister, Government of India, Smt. Ambika Soni, had opined that the initiative to bring about environmental awareness and develop a code of conduct in the tourism industry, should be led by the industry. We give our time and effort for the cause as a payback to our industry, without any expectations of returns.
We have helped deliver sustainability practices in tourism across the country- especially documenting these practices for travel services & accommodation providers under the document, the Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI), that may soon lead to a National Certification based on Sustainability parameters in association with the Ministry of Tourism
We work in partnership with various stakeholders, state governments and other national and regional organizations. We also act as a watchdog for any negative practices that may affect our industry. We have conducted 23 sensitisation workshops and Ecotourism Conclaves in 19 states, and created publications including the Ecotourism Handbook, advised on Greening, mobilized opinions and have made guidelines for certifications. We have launched the Responsible Travellers Campaign, commissioned a Resource Centre, have and are working with various State Governments to formulate their Ecotourism policies
One of our key initiatives is the certification of our member tourism service providers as responsible and sustainability practitioners. It was in this context that we were thrilled to be associated with Empyrean Skyview Projects for Skyview by Empyrean at Sanget-Patnitop
As we interacted, we realised that it was much more than just a “tourism project”. It was the creation of a “destination” with multifarious experiential activities for all age groups and with “nature” and sustainability of the environment and the community, at its core. The location is very picturesque and accessible for a great tourism destination.
Apart from that, the fact that a gondola linking the valley to Patnitop was integral to the project, and had been installed without cutting a single tree, convinced us that here was a great opportunity to work towards certification of not just a resort but a truly world-class, global, and responsible and sustainable tourism destination. And this is our goal.
Nothing can be achieved without a group of highly committed and professional team. We were absolutely thrilled to see that here we are associating with a highly professional organisation led by Syed Junaid Altaf and Pankaj Mathur, a very senior Hospitality Professional. We are convinced that this is not just about certification but also about setting standards in future such projects to come.
I wish the team great success and a great Association with RTSOI in times to come.
Founding Member & Honorary President
Responsible Tourism Society Of India (www.rtsoi.org)
Former CEO, BASS (IHG ) Hotels, South & West Asia &
Former President ITC Welcome Heritage Hotels
Director & Principal Advisor
Lords Hotels and Resorts