Sustainable Coastal Tourism: A Community Perspective
The fundamental principle of sustainable coastal tourism lays on the crystal clear water, healthy eco-system and well maintained coastal environment. Coastal tourism has drawn international attention and become highly competitive as everyone tries to increase their market share in terms of beach visitors, both domestic and international. The result of the studies in U.S proved that beaches are leading tourist destination followed by national parks and historic sites (Houston& James R, 1996). Normally, any development plan at coastal area is always looked from a commercial perspective, whereas environmental aspect is concerned, it is being described as ―trying to minimize environmental effects‖. This attitude leads to unsustainable coastal tourism development which has a multiple negative implications not only on the environment and society but also it leads to economic leakage as it destroys the physical structures such as landscape, the bio-diversity and the eco-system- in the sea and on the land which makes the foundation for tourism activities at coastal area. India too has a coastline of 7525 Kms. Spread across nine states, in which Karnataka also has a part. Coastal Karnataka consists of three districts - Uttara Kannada, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. It has a coastal area of 300 Kms that comprises a handful of potential virgin beaches. With a systematic and careful development approach towards these potential beaches, the State's beach area can be turned into attractive destinations that can vie with the best that her two nearest coastal neighbours (Kerala and Goa) have to offer. This study is confined to five beaches of Dakshina Kannada (Ullal, Someshwar, Thannir Bhavi, Panambur and Surathkal) with a view to evaluate certain sustainable practices (community participation and benefits, environment protection, socio-cultural preservation and enrichment etc.) expected to be there on the study area. The researchers have used questionnaire method in order to collect the responses from the tourism related firms and local community.