ASSESSMENT OF PHYSICAL CARRYING CAPACITY OF TOURISM FOR ECOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT AT PHAWNGPUI NATIONAL PARK, MIZORAM, INDIALalrosanga, Manohar Sajnani and Rintluanga Pachuau
Ecotourism is widely accepted term in respect of sustainable natural reserves. When tourism is linked with excursion of ecological scenario it provides added advantage to the tourists particularly from urban areas. There is little awareness about ecotourism in India. In recent years, the National Parks are being transformed into ecotourism hotspots. If the views of eco-tourists are taken into consideration, we can further develop the ecotourism spots from the viewpoint of their carrying capacities. Through this paper we have studied the perception of tourists and management staff of Phawngpui National Park about ecotourism concept and assessed physical carrying capacity of Phawngpui National Park of Mizoram, India. The study was conducted through primary data collection from tourists visiting the park and management staff of the park. A two pronged exploratory study i.e., tourists visiting the PNP (n=256) and management staff of PNP were interviewed about the ecotourism and its usefulness from the environmental protection point of view. Both questionnaire and Interview schedules were developed to cater the touristsâ response as well as management staff viewpoint about the ecotourism status at PNP. It was found that the source of information about PNP was through friends and relatives (around 38%) The objective of the visit of about 21% tourists to PNP park was for sightseeing and landscaping. About 24% of tourists visited PNP to havea glimpse of remote and unspoiled nature. About 44% of the tourists disagreed about the presence of ecofriendly services at the park. The total daily-allowed visit was 354.2 with rotation coefficient of 1.4. Maximum daily average numbers of visitors were relatively below the physical carrying capacity of the Park indicating the better prospects for PNPas a destination for Eco tourists. The study aimed at identifying the carrying capacity of eco-tourism spot from the tourists and management staff of the park satisfaction point of view. The Ecotourism Park helped the tourists and local population as well, according to the management staff of the park. The study also helped in enhancing the knowledge and awareness of park administration about ecotourism. The assessment of physical carrying capacity reveals that there is good prospect for PNP as ecotourism destination.
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