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‘Limitation of supply & increase in demand will make Ladakh a niche destination’

Amit Kothari, Owner, Goamit Holidays talks to Disha Shah Ghosh about protecting Ladakh from overtourism at a time when increased demand is leading to unregulated infrastructure development.

Q. Over the years, Ladakh has emerged as a promising destination, especially for group tours. Tell us how do you design a tour for a destination with such different topography compared to other destinations in North India?
A. Ladakh being high altitude destination, tour planning would need some tactical know-how before setting up the final programme for the client. Hence, we give the client an entire brief about the destination. We always look at the experience of the group that is in-coming to Ladakh, for us to offer them first a brief itinerary. Various elements such as age factor of each client, health condition and the willingness to take on the adrenaline adventures in Ladakh are to be taken into consideration.

Q. Tell us about your adventure tourism offerings for Ladakh.
A. We offer cycling, hiking, trekking, bird watching, snow leopard trips, lake side camping, glamping trips, and moving caravan trip is our latest innovation. Most popular among our clients is the walking trails and river rafting expeditions.

Q. What are some of the complexities of organising a tour in Ladakh?
A. As Ladakh is rain shadow region over the years, with sudden climate changes, the snow fall in winter has decreased which reduces the water supply in the summer season. In summer time, there are unexpected rain showers which create dampness on road and it creates difficulty to drive on such terrains, making the trip vulnerable to unexpected hindrances.

Ladakh is facing an influx of huge number of tourists leading to unorganised infrastructure development. With the number of flights increasing and the road connectivity getting better, the flow of tourist has increased drastically due to which more accommodation options are required across various categories. There is acute need for more number of hotels, camps and retreats.

Q. What measures are needed to protect its natural habitat?
A. Since there is overconsumption of natural resources due huge infrastructure set-ups in the eco fragile environment, various environmental bodies need to be activated and conserve the region from waste pollution and climate pollution. No plastic should be used in the entire Ladakh region, and a strict fine policy should be enforced.

Q. According to you, how can one save Ladakh from losing its niche as a destination instead of becoming a run of the mill choice?
A. The Ladakh administration needs to increase the entry fee, which will curtail the flow of tourists. New construction should not be permitted and this will reduce the number of hotels and in short reduce the in-flow of tourist travelling per year. Limitation of supply and increase in demand will always create hype, and make the destination a niche.


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