Gangtok, March 21:
A workshop on sustainable tourism for Lachen was held on Sunday by the Lachen Tourism Development Committee (LTDC) Lachen Dzumsa, under the banner of GEFGOI-UNDP SECURE Himalaya project at the Dzumsa House in Lachen. The workshop was to discuss the challenges and solutions for sustainable tourism in Lachen and to learn from eco-tourism related practices in the other areas.
Senior representatives of Lachen Dzumsa, members of the LTDC, representatives of the Lachen Driver and Lachen Hotel Associations, in-charge of the check post from Sikkim Police, Block Officer from the Forest and Environment Department and Rajarshi Chakraborty and Jaya Narayan Sharma from SECURE Himalaya project and Kinzong Bhutia from the Khangchendzonga Conservation Committee attended the seminar.
The workshop started with a welcome address by Tamding Lachenpa, executive member of LTDC with a note on the background by Chogdup Lachenpa, President, LTDC. Rajarshi Chakraborty, State Project Officer of SECURE Himalaya project, highlighted the unique biodiversity of the Tso Lhamo area and urged for collaborative conservation efforts while ensuring benefit sharing from sustainable tourism. Kinzong Bhutia, founder-member of the Khangchendzonga Conservation Committee (KCC), Yuksom, an organization with vast experience in eco-tourism and conservation, gave a presentation next on eco- tourism approaches and principles in mountain areas, focusing on
Sikkim. He cited examples of successful eco-tourism initiatives in Ladakh, Bhutan, Kerala, based on rare species like the snow leopard, black necked crane and the tiger. He also highlighted the potential challenges for sustainable eco- tourism in Lachen and outlined various solutions. During the workshop, an entry ticket for visitors to Gurudongmar
Lake to be implemented by Lachen Dzumsa and LTDC was also formally released, supported by the SECURE Himalaya project. It was highlighted that in a pioneer initiative, part of the proceeds from the entry fee shall be utilized by the local community in conservation and environmental protection related activities. The representatives highlighted critical issues related to waste management, tourist awareness and the existing permit system.