16 October 2012

Today’s Supreme Court judgement is good news, with the present ban being lifted on wildlife tourism that was imposed in July.

“The ban has ensured the airing of a range of opinions that this highly contentious topic, produced some Ecotourism guidelines to stop poor tourism, but has also badly affected hundreds of thousands of local livelihoods, and legitimate businesses, both directly or indirectly. It’s now time to get back to work, to ensure that revenues that flow through park fees back into conservation and communities start flowing again, that livelihoods are restored, and legitimate businesses are allowed to continue to show India’s very best natural heritage to its citizens.” says TOFT India Director Vishal Singh.

For a decade TOFT has been calling for better and more visionary guidelines for nature tourism, that take into account evidence based science, park geography, ground reality, carry capacity and community and management issues, and drawing on the best of practices and experiences from around the world. Only time will tell whether this ban and its new prescriptive guidelines will help solve the issues created by the boom in nature tourism within India best known parks.

“My real concern now is for forests, infact 97% of India’s remaining forest landscape, which today remains unloved, unprotected and unknown, and is increasingly devoid of wildlife, overgrazed and exploited. Sadly there is nothing in these guidelines that gives anyone, the MOEF, communities or nature tourism, a legal ‘road map’ as to how they can be restored, restocked and revitalised. That to me is a real sadness and a real missed opportunity.” says the TOFT Chairman, Julian Matthews.

TOFT hopes that this ban and its heated debates, has helped to focus every stakeholder, from Panchayat heads to Field Directors, from park guides to lodge owners, to work together, and in far greater harmony, with great inclusion and partnership, to save more of India’s precious jungles and wildlife over the coming years.

More Archived TOFT News

06 December 2016

15 bikers joined Chairman Julian Matthews on a first ever bike ride challenge between Pench Tiger Reserve and Kanha Tiger reserve – along the Pench Kanha Corridor in aid of the Village Wildlife Guardian programme, which started with 6 guardians in Kanha in June 2016. Over 3 long days of 60kms rides, 180 kms was completed covering both buffer forests like Rukhad of Pench Tiger Reserve, through forest villages and rural towns along the way, due east towards Kanha Tiger reserve, with a challenging 10 kms uphill ride in the Balaghat forest area on Day 2. Everyone completed the wonderful challenge and its many highlights on their rugged mountain bikes. - Read more...

Help for North East Indian travels
29 November 2016

Help Tourism, a tour operator specializing in East and North East India, is now a part of TOFT. Help Tourism provides purposeful travel to natural areas to understand its cultural and natural history. It links protected areas with people’s livelihoods through tourism to encourage conservation. Among its initiatives is the Sunderbans Jungle Camp that aims to protect the fragile mangrove ecosystem through model tourism, with lost cultural practices also being traced and revived for guests. The great Indian elephant safari takes place over 12 days and provides guests the unique opportunity to see Arunachal Pradesh on elephant back and learn about the tribe that once won fame for taming wild elephants. - Read more...

TOFTigers makes room for Untold India
27 November 2016

TOFTigers has added to its fold Untold India, a five-year-old boutique destination management company. Untold India organises tailormade tours to India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives, assisted by professionals who have travelled widely in these countries. In India, the company organises trips to both famous attractions and off-beat treasures such as the backwaters, jungles and villages of India. Highly qualified and trained personal travel escorts ensure comfort, safety and hassle-free journeys for guests. Accommodation provided ranges from luxury hotels to smaller boutique and heritage hotels. Personalised travel itineraries, that could include elephant polo matches at Jaipur, exclusive dinners at lovely locations, camel and horse safaris etc., help discover the true diversity of India. - Read more...

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