The tourism industry is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions in India, primarily driven by the large population and growing income level. However, very few organisations take the responsibility of offsetting the carbon they generate. One such example that has sought to sequester its carbon is MakeMyTrip.
MakeMyTrip Foundation’s objective is to invest resources and create awareness to support sustainable & responsible tourism in India. Their story goes beyond the usual in optimizing the best of their resources to give back to the environment. A few ways in which MMT is trying to elevate the tourism industry while helping biodiversity are:
1. Supporting Ecotourism – Sikkim being a mountainous region has about 28 major mountain peaks, including Mount Kanchenjunga – the third highest peak in the world and Siniolchu – one of the most graceful peaks in the world. Ecotourism refers to tourism directed towards exotic, often threatened, natural environments, intended to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife, and has recently become a major revenue-generating factor for Sikkim. MakeMyTrip has supported the plantation of 50,000 trees near the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary to support sustainable tourism and safeguard the wildlife habitats.
2. Spreading Awareness – Not only has this organization decided to support greening the environment but they have also been a firm believer of spreading awareness about the need for afforestation. In a unique yet simple model, MakeMyTrip allows its users to choose to contribute a mere amount of INR 5 towards tree plantation. This minimalistic way has helped reach out to over thousands of users across the world, creating a massive green impact.
3. Redeeming the Cyclone-Fani Affected Area – Cyclone Fani, with a wind speed of about 175 kilometres per hour, was the second-most powerful cyclone to have hit Odisha in early May 2019. According to reports, approximately 10 million trees were uprooted with an equal number of trees damaged in the extremely severe cyclone, destroying the deer habitat and rural livelihoods, while also posing a threat to the water reservoirs of the region. In a generous approach, MakeMyTrip supported the plantation of 20,000 trees in the region, allowing the trees to gradually heal the loss. These trees will further aid in disaster mitigation.
4. Supporting Himalayan Tourism – In their objective of promoting responsible tourism, they have taken a major step towards the betterment of the tourism industry of Uttarakhand. Nainital, the Himalayan state earns most of its revenue from the tourism sector. Frequent disasters like landslides and cloudbursts have led to various obstructions in the tourism sector, which restricts the ample job opportunities for the people, even affecting their agriculture activities. All these issues make forests extremely important in this Himalayan state. Their contribution towards the long-term investment – trees, will continue to enhance the biodiversity of the areas for decades to come.
5. Enriching Biodiversity – A study by TERI University mentions the importance of forests in hydrological services, carbon sequestration and storage, pollination services for agriculture and also the overuse of the resources for livelihood requirements of the local communities, making plantation of valued local trees extremely important for the ecology. Supporting the plantation of 140,000 trees, MakeMyTrip has helped to reclaim degraded and deforested lands as primary forests, strengthen forest-based livelihood opportunities for local communities, uplift rural communities and rejuvenate water bodies. These trees will generate ~11,450 workdays of employment, also offsetting ~2.8 million kgs of atmospheric carbon annually, upon maturity.
Setting a benchmark for every organization, their contribution is lauded and appreciated not only by the rural communities being benefited by the initiatives but also by the speechless animals to whom they will provide homes.