Tourism-Concept, Resources and Development Weather and Climatic Resources, Landscape Resources Part 2

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Weather and Climatic Resources

India is a land of varied climates. The regional climatic variations in India may be ascribed to five factors:

  1. The vast size of the country.

  2. The tapering shape of its peninsula.

  3. The latitudinal extent astride the Tropic of cancer.

  4. The situation at the head of the Indian ocean.

  5. The role played by the Himalayan Mountain system as a climate divide or barrier, protecting the subcontinent from extreme cold winds of central Asia.

The climatic conditions in the continental north are different from those in the south. The climatic conditions of the coasts are different from the interior, even of west coast from east coast. The climate of the great northern plain is different from the snowy Himalayas. These major contrasts are of great advantage to engage tourists in a variety of activities during their stay in the country. This diversity and the phenomena associated with it are strong enough to attract visitors. The incoming tourist can choose to stay in any type of climatic region and enjoy the changing states of weather while moving about from one place to another throughout the year. Larger is their diversity, greater is the potential of climatic conditions to develop tourism.

It is more useful to state that the mean temperature in India are nowhere below 20oC or over 33oC except in May and June or at high altitudes. It makes our country a prized tourist destination because of a much longer time for outdoor activities during the year. Region-wise a tourist can look for the mildest winter in South India (mean minimum temperatures being about 23oC), while in the north it is lower by 5o to 9oC.

In January, the places like Shimla and Srinagar in the Himalaya become too cold with freezing night temperature of -3o to -7oC, but it helps to keep the snow lying for months, offering an opportunity for winter sports, like skiing. The summers are moderately warm to cool and pleasant reminding the European visitors of similar weather of their homelands.

Seasonal distribution of the intensity and duration of high or low temperatures, rainfall or snow, sleet or hail, amount of cloud cover in various seasons are important to note before investing for the promotion of tourism. A general attractiveness of the climate gives an idea of its resource value to determine the nature and duration of particular tourist activities.

Landscape Resources

Geology and the landform are two other major bases of landscape resources. A growing interest in them has given rise to the term ‘geological tourism’. Both along with the climate, determine the rocky peaks for climbing, cliffs or scarps for hang gliding, very steep snowy slopes for skiing, and caves for exploiting them for a serious sightseeing. To a large extent, rock formation exposed in areas like Deccan plateau or Ladakh attract more for trekking. Quiet rural landscape appeals for experiencing a non-urban way of life for a period. High quality rural countryside is an attraction for cycling on branch or canal side roads, horse riding or walking through its greenery. Water bodies or waterpoints are a part of the landscape. Riversides, gorges, waterfalls, springs including hot water, and mineral springs provide spectacular views to the tourists. Luckily India has all these features within its territory. Sunbathing and adventurous rafting or rowing are associated with water tourism.

Himalayas as the world’s highest mountains have salient features, powerful enough to attract the mountaineers and the trekkers. It is amusing that our erstwhile British rulers named the main hospital within Shimla town (over 2000 metres high) after Britain’s highest Snowdon peak which is just 1085 metres high).

It may be of interest to know the preferences of tourists in regard to various relief features. A small study conducted in the U.K. revealed that the mountains were preferred by most tourists and the lowlands by the least. Mountains and other high relief features afford short views comprising deep valleys, high peaks, sharp cliffs, and escarpments. Lowlands and other low relief features provide long view of undulating plains and plateau surfaces. The following table very clearly indicates that the preferences are in descending order from very high to very low relief features. This is based on a Project Report of the Researcher A. Glig of Exeter University in U.K.

Tourist’s Preference to Various Relief Features

Tourist’S Preference to Various Relief Features
Title: Tourist’s Preference to Various Relief Features

Relief

Tourists Preferences

Rank

Mountains

75

1

Bold Hills

61

2

Hilly Country

53

3

Plateau Uplands

47

4

Low Uplands

46

5

Low Lands

37

6

Image of Tourist Prefrance

Image of Tourist Prefrance

Image of Tourist Prefrance

Plateaus and plains are considered less scenic because of their flat terrain. But flat lands close to beaches and the sea are prized for construction of buildings for accommodating tourists. Inland water attracts many to lakes, reservoirs, rivers, canals or waterfalls and the use of flat lands along them is also valued.

Wild landscape in mountains and rocky areas of high relative relief becomes far more attractive. Forest landscape irrespective of topography is, however, found to be equally attractive. It is for this reason that the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources has earmarked protected landscapes in National Parks, Biosphere Reserves etc., as not to be exploited in any form other than tourism. Seeing wildlife in its natural habitat than in a zoo or a safari park is termed as Nature Tourism these days. Vegetation in wilderness and the animals that depend upon it constitute another important element of tourist landscape. Though forests are the major areas which preserve biological diversity, the grasslands, agricultural areas, wetlands, wastelands, deserts, fresh and salt water lakes also provide protection to it.

Wetlands are no longer considered as wastelands. Although these are transitional zones between dry land and open water on their own yet they cover a large variety of habitats. They range from rivers, floodplains, and rainfed lakes to mangrove swamps estuaries, fresh and salt water marshes. A common factor is that they have plenty of water for at least a part of the year. The majestic Royal Bengal Tiger has its habitat in the wetlands of Sundarbans mangrove forest. The Manipur deer lives in the swamps around Loktak Lake of the valley. Besides mammals, a rich variety of waterfowl is also found in almost all wetlands, Bharatpur’s Ghana bird sanctuary in Rajasthan being an important example. Our country has 58.2 million hectares of wetlands excluding rivers but including paddy fields and the mangroves.

If saved from depletion, Asia’s largest fresh water lake of Kolleru can be as much a source of attraction for the tourists as for the fishermen. Located between deltas of Krishna and Godavari and 32 km from the sea, it is also a bird’s sanctuary.

While the natural waterbodies cover only 36% of the total area under wetlands, the balance is entirely man-made. Thus, if man fails, the wetlands will fail and their attraction as tourist resources will disappear.

Besides the landforms and natural vegetation, the presence of humans and human efforts in a tourist’s area are of no less importance. Terraced hillsides including terraced gardens close to the Kaveri river’s barrage near Mysore, the large botanical garden in Calcutta, the grasslands with fields and hedges around them are a few examples of the creations of man. The natural landscape exploited by humans in these forms are nowadays termed as land use landscapes.

Seascape Tourist Resources

Coastal waters of mainland and of islands are another source of tourist attraction. Sandy beaches, coves, spits and lagoons, reefs and seaside cliffs are tourist’s hot spots. These are visited for sunbaths, swimming, boating, and surfing. These recreations are possible where the waves are gentle and tidal currents are not dangerous.

A wide and a fairly fit beach is the first-rate ideal site for holiday makers. This form of tourism becomes popular wherever the sea and the tourist facilities are not out of reach from the beach. There is a great loss if buildings are constructed closely alongside a narrower beach. It is likely to become a victim of attack by sea erosion or of the danger of getting washed away. If one has to walk a long distance along its sloping platform just to reach the shore at lowest tide or the shallow waters, it also does not favour to develop it as a tourist beach. Both the high and a fast tidal range are dangerous. It is observed along the mouth of Narmada river in contrast to that of the Ganga trough. Yet such tidal waves are beneficial because they carry away the dirt and beautifully resort the sand along the beach.

As a matter of fact, the modification and improvement of beaches can alone keep them attractive for the tourists. For an example, if strong off-shore currents are not controlled by some means, these are likely to sweep away the swimmer as well as the small inflatable boats out to the sea. Tourists generally select those beaches which not only provide shelter from the high tides and the winds but also the privacy for the users. For anglers and the divers, clean and unpolluted water abounding in marine life is the primary need.

The materials, i.e. sand, mud or shingle forming the beach, the nature and the size of waves, tides and currents, shape and the stability of the beach and the coast are all equally important. Even the character of land above high-water mark is taken into account before investing for beach tourism. A shingle beach is dominant in high latitudes and more of muddy ones are found near the equatorial waters. These two are far less attractive for tourism. On the other hand, the coral beaches in warm and clear shallow waters, as along the tropical Lakshadweep Sea and most of our own sandy beaches are rated high. India has a few well developed such beaches which are popular among the tourists.

Development of both the landscape and seascape resources for tourism is generally favoured along the peripheries of large population centres. For all these reasons the planners agree to concentrate on such tracts in the mountains, along the coasts or in desert areas.

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