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

Nahargarh Ranthambhore Achieves a Quality PUG Eco-Rating
24 July 2014

Built in 2004 to resemble an old palace complex of the Indo-Islamic era with a Mughal garden, sprawling lawns and numerous courtyards, Nahargarh Ranthambore is nestled in the midst of the Aravalli hills just 5 kms from the entry gate of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. The interiors of the spacious rooms reflect traditional Rajasthani design. Wildlife films and a well stock library are available along with a swimming pool and spa to refresh guests returning from safari or visiting local villages. - Read more...

IDMS Tours Joins TOFTigers
11 July 2014

Welcome to IDMS Tours who join TOFTigers as a DMC member. Based in New Delhi, IDMS provides customised travel experiences and package tours in India, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka from adventure and culture to wildlife and luxury trains. Brainchild of Pramod Bhatnagar who has more than 25 years’ experience in the tourism industry, IDMS caters for both the business and leisure traveller. - Read more...

A Focus on Infinity
08 July 2014

Welcome to Infinity Wilderness in Bandhavgarh and Kanha who have joined the TOFTigers fold of PUG Eco-Rated lodges, both achieving Quality ratings. Infinity Wilderness Kanha is nestled in 24 acres of lush green forest and grassland adjacent to Kanha Tiger Reserve and offers ten spacious villas and ten luxury tents reflecting local cultural influences. Nature activities with the resort’s naturalists can be interspersed with relaxation in the resort’s pool and Ayurvedic spa. The resort also offers fascinating insights into the local Baiga and Gond tribes. The nearby Tribal Museum was established by the Corbett Foundation, set up by lodge’s owner. - Read more...

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