NCCF has completed the Pilot Testing of Draft Ecotourism Certification Standard at two important ecotourism destinations in India. The first pilot testing was conducted at Kali River Adventure Camp, Dandeli, Karnataka from 28th June 2022 – 30th June 2022 under Jungle Lodges and Resort, Karnataka, and the second pilot testing was conducted at Kathotiya and Kerwa Eco-Jungle Camps, Bhopal from 25th August 2022 – 26th August 2022 under Madhya Pradesh Ecotourism Development Board, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
The pilot testing was done to see the scope, applicability, and acceptability of the standard by the ecotourism management entities and to identify gaps and challenges in the implementation of the draft Ecotourism Standard. The Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (https://nccf.in/), has developed Certification Standard for Ecotourism for areas in and around the forests, keeping in view the importance of responsible travel to natural areas conserving the environment, and sustaining the well-being of the local people. The Standard has been drafted through a multi-stakeholder Standard Development Group (SDG), chaired by Mr. Avani K Varma, Chairperson, SDG, Ecotourism. The stakeholders were mapped as per UN Agenda 21. The draft Standard was put to two months public consultation from 12th August 2021 to 12th October 2021and the comments received were considered and incorporated in the Standard. The inputs and suggestions received during pilot testing are under consideration for further incorporating in the Standard.
NCCF Ecotourism Certification Standard will promote responsible tourism, improved ecotourism management practices, improved wildlife resources, healthier forests, and provide livelihood security to local people in addition to providing price premium and access to new ecotourism markets for such initiatives, besides giving options to the travelers to visit authentic eco destinations. Certification will also require proper management planning for each ecotourism area that will be prepared by the management entity in consultation with the local communities, utilising their strength of traditional knowledge, as well as others concerned with promoting ecotourism at the destinations.