“Protect women’s rights at India’s tourist destinations”: Equations on the environmental, social and cultural impacts of tourism

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We envision forms of tourism which are non-exploitative, where decision making is democratised, and access to and benefits of tourism are equitably distributed. EQUATIONS believes in the capacity of individuals and communities to actualise their potential for the well-being of society. We work toward justice, equity, people centred and movement centred activism, democratisation and dialogue.

Everyday we hear that tourism brings economic development, it creates jobs and revenues. But who really benefits from it? The local community, the village elite, or the owner?

There’s been an exponential increase in tourism in India over the last several decades, fueled by the growing economy and disposable incomes. The tourism industry in India has expanded wildly in an unregulated fashion with no regard for environmental, social and cultural impacts.

[…] Please find attached EQUATIONS submission on concerns we have in relation to tourism’s role in the exploitation of women. Key concerns we would like to raise are summarised below:
 
In our quest for tourism that is more equitable, sustainable and just we have had on our radar the impact that current forms of tourism development have on women’s lives. […]
 
On the social and cultural front, tourism also reflects social, economic and political power relations existing in society, therefore, initiatives taken in relation to tourism should take into consideration these realities. Women from Dalit communities constitute large part of cleaning jobs, especially manual scavenging (95%). They face discrimination on both caste and gender grounds and are subjected to multitude of atrocities including rape.
 
The marketing of tourism is one area which features women prominently. The language of patriarchy, heterosexuality and tourism promotion are inter-linked and primarily addressed to the need of male tourists. Stereotypical and sexist images of women are often part of tourism promotion in brochures and advertisements.
 
We call upon governments, policy makers, industry, civil society to engage in more systemic ways with the challenge of women’s empowerment in tourism. It is time for the government to recognise tourism as a site for blatant and inhuman exploitation of women in tourism. We urge the committee to incorporate provisions to protect women at tourism destinations and declare that tourism will not be promoted at expense of women’s dignity, respect and rights. […]
 
Surabhi Singh
Programme Coordinator EQUATIONS

Source: Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS) | Submission To Justice Verma Committee On Tourism’s Role In Tourism
Address : http://www.equitabletourism.org/campaign.php?AID=2687
Date Visited: Mon May 12 2014 14:26:39 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. It has achieved all-round socio-economic progress since Independence. As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.

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