"Our ministry is committed to developing tourism in India based on the principles of sustainability, minimising the carbon footprints," Tourism Minister Shripad Naik said while launching a comprehensive sustainable tourism criteria for the country for tour operators, accomodation, beaches, backwaters, lakes and rivers sectors.

He said the development of tourism should not be in conflict with ecology.

"We should ensure our strategies for development of tourism are not in conflict with the environment and have minimal negative impact. I take this opportunity to urge all stakeholders engaged in the tourism industry to not to over-exploit our natural and other resources for short-term gains," Naik said.

Referring to India's rich culture and heritage, he said,

"When we talk about sustainability we should not only talk about conservation of resources but also our culture and heritage.

"The principles of the sustainability include conservation of water, energy, culture, heritage, revival of ancient architecture, involvement of communities, protection of wildlife and non-exploitation of women, children and weaker sections."

He said the ministry would like the sustainablility criteria to be implemented on voluntary basis based on the principles of providing incentives.

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