Chennai: In a move that could make the tourism initiatives green, the tourism ministry is likely to ask the states to harness solar power to operate boathouses and houseboats besides direct the hospitality sector to adapt a mechanism to dispose waste.
Though this move mandates the installation of solar panels or take up waste management plans, the state-owned enterprise – Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) has already initiated the drive to power its boathouse and some of its hotels through solar energy.
According to sources, a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Tourism, painting a grim picture of tourism development hampering ecology in certain tourist places as in Munnar, has come out with these recommendations, which are actively being considered by the Centre.
Unregulated tourism development affected natural habitats and this “uncontrolled exploitation of natural heritage for tourism development will gradually destroy the ecological balance,” the panel observed. Hotels should be mandated to have sewage treatment plants, the panel had said.
“Tourism should be based on scientific carrying capacity and sustainability principles. So, there is an imperative need for all stakeholders to strictly comply to minimise the damage to natural resources,” a senior tourism official said. The energy needs of the houseboats, for instances, could be met by installing solar panels above the roof tops to prevent air pollution and oil pollution of lakes.
The panel recommended the government to come out with a prototype of a houseboat on a pilot project basis and if found successful, it could be replicated.
“Perhaps, other states could learn from our experience. The solar energy charged water-heating system installed decades ago in our Kanyakumari hotel for instance, has been providing hot water to our guests till this day,” a senior TTDC official added.