Year: 2021 | Month: March | Volume 10 | Issue 1
Ecotourism and Sustainable Community Development: A Case Study of Sillery Gaon, West Bengal
Pranab Kr. Das
Ecotourism has a significant role in community development in the host areas through alternative but sustainable livelihood. This tourism practice meets the needs of the tourists and hosts together, protecting the natural environment. Nowadays, this tourism involves visiting new areas to learn about various landscapes, environment, habitats as well as the cultural activities of an individual community. It also expands the possibilities for future. So, ecotourism can be an effective method for sustainable rural development in the Himalayan tract of West Bengal. In Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal, ecotourism is still a community-based activity which involves local people and their culture. Most of the ecotourism sites in this part of West Bengal are within forest and hilly tract. Here growth of ecotourism has been phenomenal during the last decades with the influx of tourists that boosted the local economy. Sillery Gaon, a small village, in ‘Silk Route Circuit’ of West Bengal, is a new addition to it and a perfect example of this scenario. It is situated in Kashyone, gram panchayat of Kalimpong District. This pictorial village is surrounded with the dense forest of Pankhasari range and blessed with the panoramic view of Tista River and Kanchenjunga. In the last ten years, the villagers have developed ecotourism facilities and activities which transformed their traditional agrarian economy to tourismbased livelihood. This paper is based on a case study that analyses the symbiotic relationship between the ecotourism practice and sustainable community development of Sillary Gaon village. It also deals with the prospects and challenges of ecotourism sector of this village.
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