Tiger Tourism gets a breather 

Nivedita Ganguly Mumbai | Updated on November 17, 2017 Published on October 16, 2012

Wildlife parks open from October 1 for the winter season.   -  Business Line

The Supreme Court’s directive to lift the ban on tiger tourism in core sanctuary areas has come as a big relief for the tourism industry.

It was affected by revenue loss due to the uncertainty surrounding the ban on wildlife tourism since July this year.

While the tour operators and wildlife conservationists have welcomed the Court’s order, industry players say that the delay in lifting the ban has had a considerable impact on the tourism industry. Wildlife parks open from October 1 for the winter season after a gap of three months (July to September) when the parks are closed.

“Tourism in October will be affected the most. Foreign tourist arrivals have dropped sharply. We are keeping our hopes on the domestic tourism segment this time,” said Anurag Sharma, who has a travel business called “Tigerwala” in Ranthambore.

About 40 per cent of the total tourists in Ranthambore during peak season (October to December) are from abroad. According to industry estimates, in Ranthambore alone, the 15-day delay has led to a revenue loss of close to Rs 40 lakh in the last two weeks. India has over 40 tiger reserves.

A section of wildlife conservationists feel that wildlife tourism in India may become more expensive in the coming years as the court has banned the construction of new resorts near the forests.

“This will lead to a monopoly of existing resorts, especially in emerging forests like Tadoba and Pench in Maharashtra,” said Shivang Mehta of Nature Wanderers, an organization of wildlife photographers and nature lovers.

However, Sharma feels that for the long-term goal of conservation, this will be a small sacrifice.

The delay in lifting the ban has also benefited wildlife tourism in countries like Sri Lanka, which offer an alternative to wildlife enthusiasts. The team of Nature Wanderers had recently conducted a camp in Yala National Park in Sri Lanka, due to the absence of wildlife tourism in India.

According to Surinder Singh Sodhi, Senior Vice-President, Thomas Cook, “While tiger parks are core to India’s wildlife tourism, they form a key inclusion in cultural tours of India for the inbound segment. Further, the impact of the ban would have resulted in collateral damage via loss of livelihood for hundreds of locals who work as naturalists, guides, drivers and lodge staff.”

Thomas Cook anticipates a 10 per cent drop in revenues in the current season as a result of the delay.

He further added that it is not just Thomas Cook India, but also its overseas partners and key stakeholders like wildlife promoters, hotels, jungle resorts and State tourism boards who can now breathe a collective sigh of relief.


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Published on October 16, 2012
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