When the idea of Skyview by Empyrean was conceptualized, it was mutually agreed upon by all the stakeholders that they must ensure not just the development of the tourism industry of Patnitop but also the implementation of measures that would foster a positive economic, social, and environmental impact on Patnitop. Being a mountain region, Patnitop is sensitive to socio-economic and ecological changes. In places like these, the utmost care has to be exercised to avoid crossing environmental thresholds or reaching tipping points. A delicate balance needs to be maintained, the environment needs to be preserved, people need to be trained and educated, and several checks and balances have to be introduced.
In the beginning, implementing a Responsible Tourism Framework was a vision. Today, it is the ground reality. Through various interventions, Skyview by Empyrean has onboarded various local, national, and international stakeholders to implement responsible tourism processes that foster a positive interaction between the tourism industry and the mountain ecosystem. We aim to educate, inform, and inspire our readers about how Responsible Tourism protocols are constantly shaping the Skyview experience through our Responsible Tourism Series.
What is Responsible Tourism?
Responsible tourism refers to how visitors, residents, and small businesses interact with a destination. Responsible Tourism is about “making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.” It requires that all stakeholders, including operators, hoteliers, governments, local people and tourists, take responsibility and action to make tourism more sustainable by addressing visitors’ needs, the industry, the environment and host communities.
Why is Responsible Tourism Important?
Global tourism accounts for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions as well as other significant environmental and social impacts that are not always beneficial to local communities and their economies. Tourism is a massive global employer. In 2018, economic data from the World Travel & Tourism Council indicates that travel and tourism accounted for a staggering 10.4% of global GDP, and the tourism sector employed 319 million people globally—that’s 1 in 10 jobs on the planet. As such, it is pertinent that specific measures be put in place to mitigate the socio-economic and environmental risks that arise with expanding tourism activities.
Characteristics of Responsible Tourism
Responsible Tourism was defined in Cape Town in 2002 alongside the World Summit on Sustainable Development. According to the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism (2014), the following are the characteristics of Responsible Tourism:
- It minimizes negative social, economic, and environmental impacts.
- Involves the locals in decisions that impact them in any way.
- Contributes to natural and cultural conservation of the host destination.
- Provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people.
- Fosters a greater understanding of local cultural, social, and environmental issues among all stakeholders.
- Exercises non-discrimination.
- Generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities.
- Improves working conditions and access to the industry.
- Fosters respect and equality.
- Engenders respect between tourists and hosts.
- Builds local pride and confidence
Skyview by Empyrean prides itself on being an active participant in implementing Responsible Tourism Frameworks that create a better tourism experience for all stakeholders and focus on sustainability. Through its various affiliations with organizations like the World Travel and Tourism Council, IFCCI, the Responsible Tourism Society of India, the World Travel Market, LNT, J&K Tourism, and many other organizations, Skyview by Empyrean has been at the forefront of Responsible Tourism in the country. There are 4 key areas that Skyview focuses on:
As a responsible member of society, Skyview by Empyrean has always been at the forefront in contributing to society’s welfare. This is reflected in our endeavour to uplift the local community in numerous ways. By partnering with vendors in our vicinity for essential supplies of locally grown organic fruits and vegetables, we have boosted the local economy. Since 2019, we have been able to employ 200+ staff members, a majority of which belong to Jammu and Kashmir.
Skyview by Empyrean is one of the largest tourism projects in J&K and a hallmark project under the PPP model. It is also the largest Indo-French mountain tourism infrastructure project in India. Since its commercial launch in 2019, it has been able to boost the economy of the vicinity featuring hotels, transporters, and other local vendors. Additionally, it includes a retail store that offers handcrafted marvels and edibles, providing a platform for local artisans.
With projects like Green Gondola, sustainable architectural design, rainwater harvesting, biodegradable cutlery, digital menus, afforestation drives, and several other sustainable measures, Skyview by Empyrean strives towards carbon neutrality. Our environment-friendly policies help us have a net positive impact on Patnitop’s socio-economic and environmental ecosystem.
We have partnered with prominent global companies including POMA Group, MND Group, ERIC, and Sage Geotech in the planning, development and construction of Skyview by Empyrean. The layout and master-planning of the 11-acre tourism destination have been done by Dianeige (France). Buildings have been tested to take sufficient load and remain safe during storms, rain, snow or even earthquakes. Skyview’s commitment and adherence to responsible and sustainable tourism are as per the global guidelines and recommendations of leading international and national councils, of which we are proud members.