Wetlands are the link between land and water, and are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world.Wetlands are defined as lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water.
Theme of WWD-2015
2nd February is celebrated as World Wetlands Day as the day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2nd February 1971 in the city of Ramsar in Iran. The day commemorates the need to maintain the ecological character of wetlands and to plan 'sensible' for its sustainable use. The day was celebrated for the first time in 1997. This year's theme is: “Wetlands for Our Future”.The World Wetlands Day theme for 2012 was - Wetlands and Tourism.The main programmesheld in connection with the event includes a photo competition and exhibition, conservation seminar, interaction meeting among stakeholders etc.
Wetlands & Tourism
Tourism is a principal source of income especially for many of the developing countries and the sector provides good opportunities for many poor people. Wetlands like coasts, rivers and lakes play a vital part in the development of tourism. Wetland tourism has benefits both locally and nationally for people and wildlife – benefits such as stronger economies, sustainable livelihoods, healthy people and thriving ecosystems. At least 35% of Ramsar Sites around the world record some forms of tourism activity and this percentage is consistent throughout all regions. Kolleru Lake, which is 901 square kilometres according to the records of the Ramsar Convention, is the largest fresh water lake in the country. The Chilika Lake which is 1,100 square km is a brackish water lake and the Vembanad Lake which is 1,512 square km is partially brackish.
Currently India is having 26 wetlands listed under ramsar sites.Tourists can enjoy swimming, diving, photography, bird watching, indulge in mangrove trails, wildlife viewing or just enjoying the scenery while visiting wetlands. Tourism can impact wetlands in a number of ways leading to habitat loss, pollution, noise or over-consumption of water. But through proper planning tourism can be used as an innovative mechanism for conserving the wetlands.
School of Tourism Studies
Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam
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