Formulation Of An Ecotourism Policy, Strategy

The objective of this subcomponent is to ensure that the stakeholders of Sikkim have a common understanding of the concept of ecotourism and that tourism infrastructure is constructed respecting acceptable environmental and cultural standards. The formulation of the policy will be under the responsibility of a committee of foremost Sikkim stakeholders who will draft, publicize, and ensure the official recognition of the policy. 

Ecotourism Policy Consultative Committee
In order to ensure that this ecotourism policy is satisfying the international standards as well as the local conditions in Sikkim, first of all, Forest Department will send a draft ecotourism policy to JICA India Office for inviting comments. Thereafter, consultative committee comprising 10 expert members will be organized in addition to the public consultations at each district level. The 10 members of the consultative committee are expected to be the followings at this stage. However, the details of the member of the committee will be worked out during the course of implementation of the Project.
  • Two (2) Local NGOs (such as ECOSS, KCC)
  • One (1) National level NGO (such as WWF)
  • Four (4) Related Department (Department of Environment, Forest, and Wildlife Management, Department of Tourism, Rural Management and Development Department, Department of Human Resources), 
  • One (1) international eco-tourism organization (such as The International Ecotourism Society), 
  • One (1) member from Travel Agent Association of Sikkim (TAAS), 
  • One (1) member from the Sikkim Association of Adventure Tour Operators (SAATO)

After conducting these consultations and incorporating those recommendations and comments, the ecotourism policy will be put up before the State Assembly for approval. Thereafter, the policy will be notified. The consultative committee meetings shall be held twice before and after the public consultations with each district. The impacts of this subcomponent will be that future tourism structures in the forest area and pathways in the mountain shall be constructed in an environmentally sensitive manner and that visitors and local residents would be encouraged to act responsibly in the forest area, thus protecting the nature and culture of Sikkim.

Organization of Public Consultations in the Four Districts
Public meetings will be arranged and publicized through the district authorities. A meeting will be held at each of the four district centers to elicit stakeholders? reactions and comments about the policy. 

Finalization of the Policy and Organization of a Publicity Campaign
The final document will be approved by the State Government and notified. The policy will be printed for distribution to stakeholders and to the media, and a campaign to publicize the content of the policy throughout Sikkim will be launched. The campaign will involve announcements in the media, a media conference, the issuance of press kits for the media and information for the trade, and inclusion on the Forest Department website.