is ecotourism ?
Tourism is one of the fastest-growing economic activities in developing countries, notably in mountainous areas. However, improper management of tourism can have heavy negative impacts. Therefore, Ecotourism stresses the involvement of local communities in the management of tourism and the distribution of benefits to the local population.
Ecotourism in the Eastern Pamirs
The Pamirs, like other mountain regions, are rich in traditional and minority cultures. They conserve an outstanding biodiversity of rare or endangered plant and animal species, as well as vast reserves of clean water resources. The great scenic beauty of the Pamirs, as well as the warm hospitality of the inhabitants, make the Pamirs a prime, but as yet largely undiscovered, tourist destination.
ACTED has been running the Pamir High Mountain Integrated Project (PHIP) since 1999, mainly funded by the Swiss Development Corporation. The main objective of the PHIP is to diversify the economy, which traditionally has been based on the breeding of livestock. The project includes components for credit and capacity-building, high mountain agriculture, the rehabilitation of social infrastructure, support for local handicrafts and for local culture, as well as support for the most vulnerable families.
The Development of Cultural and Ecotourism in the Eastern Pamirs is a component of the PHIP, funded within a UNESCO project for the promotion of community-based cultural and ecotourism in selected mountain areas of South and Central Asia. The focus is on poverty eradication, the reduction of rural-urban migration and the preservation of the cultural and natural heritage.
Today, ecotourism development in the Eastern Pamirs is just beginning. However, it has considerable potential, giving the region the opportunity to become a model for the sustainable management of its cultural and natural heritage through the combined efforts of local communities, authorities, donors and tourists.
In order to achieve such objectives, the Murghab EcoTourism Association (META) is providing community-based ecotourism services to visitors. Your visit is a factor in the economic development of this region and can contribute to conservation and the appropriate use of cultural and natural resources.
Be aware of your actions and appearance and how these might be perceived
by your hosts.