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

21 October 2014

Today, in partnership with Bittu Sahgal and his team at Sanctuary Asia, India's biggest natural history publisher, we set out on a joint mission: To ensure that we can live up to key standards in delivering better nature tourism and to truly realise its potential as a conservation tool.

This mammoth undertaking will manifest as a partnership between Sanctuary Asia and TOFTigers that will, enhance coverage in Sanctuary Asia magazine, undertake...

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New Member Lodge Aahana – The Corbett Wilderness Achieves an Outstanding Rating
15 October 2014

Comfort and responsibility combine in abundance in this eco-friendly resort set in thirteen acres of lush forest and greenery on the edge of the Bijrani Zone of Corbett National Park which has achieved a TOFTigers Outstanding PUG Eco-Rating from the outset. Congratulations! Accommodation is in clusters of individually decorated rooms offering beautiful views of the Corbett Range. Guests can enjoy nature walks and bird watching with the resident naturalists in grounds which have been restored with indigenous grasses and trees and now host an abundance of wildlife. Cycling and a range of other activities including an Aarogyam Spa are also on offer. Almost all their staff are from the local community and 100% of the resort’s sewage and bath water is recycled amongst a range of other features spanning nature conservation and education, support for the community and local economy, and ecological practices which have earned their Outstanding rating. - Read more...

Koyeli Tours Joins TOFTigers
13 October 2014

Koyeli Tours & Travels, a leading Destination Management Company established in 2007 and offering a comprehensive ground handling service in North East India, have joined TOFTigers. Based in Guwahati, Assam, the company offers wide ranging tours in Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura from wildlife and birding, village hiking, arts and crafts, culture, tribes and tea plantation visits, to motorcycle tours and river cruises on the Brahmaputra. We applaud their commitment to working to sustainable standards in wildlife tourism and welcome them on board. - Read more...

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