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Extreme tourism lesson one - Case study
Extreme tourism lesson two - Data analysis
Extreme tourism lesson three - practical task
Extreme tourism follow up

'From the Field' Awards

Inspiring fieldwork supported by the RGS-IBG

In collaboration with:

The Goldsmiths' Company

Ice River – A journey to Zanskar in Winter
Tourism in an Extreme Environment

Key words

  • Extreme environment 
  • Wilderness
  • Tourism
  • Adventure tourism 
  • Mountain environments

Summary

Location

This expedition occurred during January and February 2011 to Zanskar, a sub district of the Kargil district in the eastern half of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in the imposing Himalayan mountain range. The administrative center is Padum. Zanskar, together with the neighbouring region of Ladakh, was briefly a part of the kingdom of Guge in Western Tibet.

Aims

The research intended to travel along the ‘Chadar’ Ice River to Zanskar; it is the only way in or out of this remote Himalayan kingdom for eight months of the year. This offered an exceptional opportunity to travel through a challenging environment, a gorge deeper than the Grand Canyon in temperatures as low as -30C, to understand the central role this passage plays to the Zanskar regions as without it permanent inhabitation would be impossible.

The researchers aimed to make a radio programme telling the story of this spectacular journey from two perspectives: Tanzin, a Zanskar local returning for the first time since he was seven years old and Paul, an English man appreciating the journey that represents a connection with the past so widely ignored in the modern world.

Now, a new road through the gorge will render the Chadar redundant and the practical and cultural impact of this change will be particularly interesting from the perspective of adventure/extreme tourism. 

Research techniques

Qualitative data was collected in the form of audio recordings and pictures from along their journey.

Outcomes

  • To tell the story of a spectacular journey
  • To gain two perspectives of their story; Tanzin, a Zanskar local returning for the first time since he was seven years old and Paul, an English man appreciating the journey that represents a connection with the past so widely ignored in the modern world
  • To tell their story via a radio show
 


Lesson one

Lesson one »



Lesson two
Lesson two »

Lesson three
Lesson three »

Follow up
Follow up  »

The researchers

Paul Howard

Paul Howard is a geographer, journalist and has written three books about cycling and travel. He has an MA in Geography and is a fellow of the RGS-IBG.

Tanzin Norbu

Tanzin Norbu was born in the remote Himalayan kingdom of Zanskar. He currently lives in the UK, where he is a fellow of the RGS-IBG and a member of the International Association for Ladakhi Studies.

 

Key topics and themes

  • Extreme or Mountain Environments (Wilderness): descriptive video and audio footage as a means for providing ideas about extreme/mountain environments, as well as pictures
  • Adventure Tourism: understand what attracts people to this area as an adventure tourism location
  • Impacts of Adventure Tourism: the positive, negative, environmental, economic, social, political, short and long term impacts on an environment

The group during the trip

Documents to download

Sound clips

About the author

Emma BrayneEmma Brayne studied teaching at Goldsmiths University in 2009/2010. She got her first job as a geography teacher at a Catholic High School in west London in September 2010, where she is still a geography teacher and more recently Deputy Head of Year 9.

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