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Tourism carrying capacity assessment for Leh town of Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir

Author: 
Sajad Nabi Dar, Shamim Ahmad Shah and Muzafar Ahmad Wani
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

The growth and expansion of tourism are a complex phenomenon and requires multiple pronged approaches to study its various dimensions to consider sustainability limits. Leh district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India is blessed with adventurous topography, rugged terrain, narrow valleys, high altitude lakes, lofty mountain peaks, extensive glaciers, unique wildlife and traces of original Buddhist culture are mostly confined to this region. In this entire vast area of wilderness only this town has been equipped with all modern facilities therefore it used as the base camp by the ever-increasing tourist flow. Over the year’s tourism activities in Leh town have been growing rapidly as a result the local population of the town is outclassed by the number of tourists most of year. The magnitude of anthropogenic pressure goes beyond the natural coping capacity of the town because of huge amounts of ground water extraction and the generation of enormous quantity of solid and liquid waste. Currently the town does not have a proper drainage and solid waste management system resulting in various social and environmental concerns which has threatened the whole tourism industry and hence the livivelihood of the local residents is at stake. Therefore, appropriate planning measures are needed to prevent further degradation of quality of tourism. The objective of this article is to develop a methodology to assess the growth limits of tourist destinations by establishing various mathematical formulae to calculate carrying capacity of several tourism activities. The results of this study could be used as the preliminary benchmarks for sustainable tourism planning for the town.

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