The Ladakh Tourist Trade Alliance on Wednesday passed a resolution to oppose investment by outsiders in the tourism sector and threatened the imposition of “restrictions” on such investors.
The resolution, signed by 16 Leh-based groups, unanimously decided to work in solidarity to protect the tourism industry of Ladakh.
“The resolution seeks preservation of Ladakh as a unique tourist destination and for protection of the avenues of entrepreneurship and livelihood of the local people, to safeguard the fragile ecosystem and oppose investment, in any form, in the tourism sector from outside the region,” LTTA chairman P T Kunzang told reporters.
The Ladakh Tourist Trade Alliance (LTTA) comprises of Leh-based All Ladakh Tour Operators Association, All Ladakh Hotel and Guest House Association, Ladakh Taxi Operators Cooperative Union, Ladakh Tempo Traveller Association, Ladakh Bikers Association and Rafting Association.
The resolution was prepared in support of the Ladakh Buddhist Association, All Ladakh Gompa Association, Anjuman Moin-Lil-Islam, Anjuman Imamia and Christian Association, Merchant Association besides the Leh units of the BJP, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party.
“The resolution resolved that during any instance of exploitation of this valuable local resource base in the shape of investment from outside sources, hidden or declared, direct or through any local agency, the local community and trade bodies will impose restrictions against such individuals, businesses or tourist trade enterprises,” Kunzang, who was flanked by all the signatories, said.
“These restrictions will be in the form of non-cooperation by the travel trade fraternity as well as community and political organisations,” he said.
The resolution stated that the fast-growing tourism sector does not only contribute immensely to the local economy but has also evolved as a primary source of income and employment with the majority of the total population being dependent on the sector.
“In recent years, there has been relentless pressure by big businesses and vested interests from outside Ladakh to usurp even this vital resource base from the local people. This development is strongly impacting not only our fragile ecosystem but also investment opportunities and limited employment resources of the region, thus putting the interest of the local scheduled tribe population at risk,” it said.
It added that Ladakh’s local tribal population, in spite of an extremely challenging environment, have built a successful tourist infrastructure with limited resources in the form of hotels, guest houses, taxis, bikes, adventure sports and tour operators over a period of four decades.
“Contributing to over 50 per cent of Ladakh’s economy, and being the primary employment generating industry, it is imperative to ensure its sustainable growth in the future,” the resolution said.