ECOTOURISM CAN PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INSACRED GROVE OF PARNERA HILLSHetal M. Patel and Meghna Adhvaryu
Tourism as sustainable development and conservation of environment are mirror image of each other. Itcan positively or negatively affect social, economic and environmental development of the region. A casestudy in sacred groves of Parnera hills, Valsad district, Gujarat, India was conducted through informaldiscussions and interviews with stake holders and local people of that area. Points of discussion in studyincluded: Impact on environment, environmental sustainability policies, community involvement andinteraction in the development of the area, environmental conservational activities, and economicsustainability. Findings demonstrate that tourism in sacred groves of Parnera hills affectedsocio-economicstatus in the aspect of monetary gain to local people.In targeting the development of the area, environmentalpolicies were overlooked and loss of biodiversity in flora and fauna reiterated the negative impact. Development of infrastructural facilities at the cost of biodiversity generated numerous debates. Seeing to the challenges of conservation for the ecofriendly sustainable development; awareness programs for local population and stake holders is an essential step which would balance the goals of development of ecotourism and conserving the diversity.