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

Infinity Kaziranga Wilderness - A new Eco PUG rated as Quality Practice lodge member
17 April 2015

Infinity Kaziranga Wilderness combines comfort with a great location that blends with its natural environment. Located on the boundary of the Kaziranga National Park, it is set in the midst of a thick bamboo grove and a variety of other plants, giving visitors an impression of being ensconced in a forest. Its sixteen spacious rooms are reminiscent of old Assamese houses made using traditional materials, with furniture crafted out of locally available bamboo. This elegant resort has a beautiful lake within its property, enhancing its beauty and feeling of serenity, and plays host to a bevy of avian guests. - Read more...

New International Operator - Mantra Wild Adventures
16 April 2015

A big thank you to our new member from Australia, Mantra Wild Adventures who are helping by sponsoring a wildlife guardian in Ranthambhore. Started by an Australian-born Indian, Reena Tory, and based on her own travel experiences to India, Mantra Wild helps you engage with local communities to help make your experience more meaningful. They also support places they visit by contributing to local conservation and community initiatives. - Read more...

New Member Lodge - Flame of the Forest Safari Lodge achieves a Quality Practice PUG rating
06 April 2015

Located on the borders of the serene Kanha National Park, Flame of the Forest is an ideal hideaway for nature enthusiasts. It is hosted by a great naturalist, Karan and his Swiss wife Isabelle, and has gained our Quality ranking. Its four well-appointed cottages on the banks of the Banjar River offer contemporary yet rustic style interiors with stunning views across lush forests and ample privacy. One of the cottages is wheelchair-friendly. The lodge uses the centrally-located Khatia entry gate so guests can maximise their chances of viewing wildlife by accessing all zones in the Park. - Read more...

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