ECO TOURISM in ASIA
- (EMMAUS ASIA)
NGOs in Asian countries, all these years, have commonly depended on funding from donor agencies, charitable institutions, and government ministries for their own administration and for conducting programs related to their local context. In the past, these donor/NGO relationships generally worked well for nonprofit, non-governmental organizations. However, in recent years, NGOs have been witnessing a marked decrease in available grants and other funding from both overseas and local donors, and when the support ends, the projects comes to a halt.
In the above context, discussions were held in Emmaus Asia Regional meetings since 2008 regarding how Emmaus Associations in Asia could move towards self sustainability. The Board of Emmaus Asia was of the opinion that if available resources with Asian groups be utilized productively, it will greatly help to generate income, eventually leading the groups to develop the future projects independent of any external support, and thus free them from their present state of dependence on uncertain sources of funding.
With the times and the support from Emmaus International, the concept of Eco Tourism emerged, which has gradually developed as an alternative source of income generation programme for the groups. It aims to educate visitors on the alternatives established by Asian groups in the field of education, water, sustainable agriculture, health, women empowerment, ethical finance, recycling & alternative energy, and also on the importance of the protecting natural resources as well as local cultural and artistic practices. There is also a growing interest in visiting tropical forest, mangrove forest, bird sanctuaries and wild life sanctuaries among the tourists.
Asian groups wanted to utilize this opportunity of the growing shift in interest among tourists from visit to urban cities, & from historical places to development projects, and make them understand the impact of development initiatives established by them in the last 25 years. Thus the idea of developing Eco tourism program emerged as part of income generation programme.