Examining the Impact of Climate Change on Tourism Sector of Uttarakhand : An Exploratory Study


  • Megha Jacob Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University
  • Anoushka Chopra Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University
  • Apoorva Goel Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University
  • Arunima Marwaha Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University
  • Bhavya Sharma Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University




Climate Change, Tourism, Uttarakhand, Policy Analysis


Uttarakhand is recognized for its scenic beauty, fertile terrain and a rich cultural and religious heritage. Deriving a major proportion of its income from tourism and allied services, the tourism industry has become indispensable for its residents and for its government. However, the region is highly vulnerable to natural calamities like earthquakes, floods, forest fires and landslides due to its geography. Uncontrolled influx of tourists and pilgrims, unplanned construction of tourism-related infrastructure in eco-sensitive zones, massive greenhouse gas emissions, humongous waste generation and improper disposal have all added to the environmental degradation of this region. Hence, precarious condition of the terrain, rapid infrastructure development in addition to unplanned tourism and unregulated urbanisation have all led to highly volatile climatic conditions in recent decades and experts suggest that the situation will only get worse. The 2013 Kedarnath floods, the 2016 wildfires as well as the numerous reported landslides and earthquakes bear testimony to this fact. These in turn have an adverse impact on the tourism of the state. In 2016, Uttarakhand reported a sharp drop in tourist numbers after wildfires. In this paper we explore the question of sustainability of the tourism sector in Uttarakhand. We also intensively cover the various stakeholders of the tourist industry of the state, namely NGOs, Tourists, Local Communities, Local Businesses and Hotels and how losses to the same impact them. We study these impacts by using secondary data from secondary sources and primary data through interviews conducted by the authors, of locals in Rishikesh working at Tiny Lab Farm - a rural design and research studio. The authors also conducted a case study on Joshimath, which is an evident example of a tourism-dependent town in Uttarakhand, at the brink of losing its mainstay, as a result of environmental degradation. Opposing the idea of climate change being a problem of the future, the case study showcases the urgency of the situation by providing a sequential background on the course of events and its impact on tourism, as can be observed in real-time. Finally, the last section of the paper is a brief policy analysis of the current policies adopted by the government. The authors conclude that an increased community participation, usage of eco-friendly and locally sourced construction materials, promotion of tourism practices which are traditional and sustainably, a reassessment of forest laws, proper waste management, resurging indigenous practices and an increased involvement of women and elderly in the industry can pave the way for a balanced and sustained future of the tourism industry.


Keywords: Climate Change, Tourism, Uttarakhand, Policy Recommendations

JEL: O180, Q26, Q54, Z320, Z38  

Author Biographies

Megha Jacob, Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University

Ms. Megha Jacob is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi. She is currently Pursuing her Ph.D. in Economics from the TERI School of Advanced Studies, Delhi.

Her areas of specialisation are Development & Health Economics, Public Finance, Macroeconomics and Environmental Economics. Her research interests include the Economics of Health, Education, Gender, climate change , MSMEs and Local Governance.

She is the recipient of the SAARC Education Award for her outstanding contribution in the areas of Environmental Education. She has worked on several Indian Government Funded Projects for NHRC, Ministry of Labour, NIEPA, Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, CSO, Government Of India. She was a co-investigator in the first study of India on Human Rights of Transgender sponsored by NHRC  for the Government of India.  Her International Publications include a book which is being referred in the library of Deakin University, Australia which is titled ,“ Local Governments and Public Health Delivery System in Kerala: Lessons of Collaborative Governance” published by Cambridge Scholars Press, London. She’s has also written several research papers in different UGC-Care listed and peer-reviewed journals. She also has an e-lesson published  for the International Council of Sciences and the World Bank on “Shadow Prices and Market Prices”.


ORCID ID: 0000-0002-6626-4629 

Official email id: mjacob@jmc.du.ac.in

Personal email id: meghajacob@gmail.com 

Anoushka Chopra , Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University

Research Student, Department of Economics, Jesus and Mary college, University of Delhi.

Apoorva Goel , Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University

Research Student, Department of Economics, Jesus and Mary college, University of Delhi.

Arunima Marwaha , Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University

Research Student, Department of Economics, Jesus and Mary college, University of Delhi.

Bhavya Sharma, Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University

Research Student, Department of Economics, Jesus and Mary college, University of Delhi.


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How to Cite

Jacob, M., Chopra , A. ., Goel , A. ., Marwaha , A., & Sharma, B. (2024). Examining the Impact of Climate Change on Tourism Sector of Uttarakhand : An Exploratory Study. Atna Journal of Tourism Studies, 19(1), 35-68. https://doi.org/10.12727/ajts.31.2