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

New DMC member – Holiday Charme India
27 January 2016

Holiday Charme India is a Delhi-based travel company offering customised tours across India spanning culture, exotic locations and seasonal festivals including specialised wildlife tours to Ranthambhore, Corbett, National Chambal and Bharatpur. The company offers multilingual guides, hotel booking and car rental services geared towards giving their clients a taste of real India. - Read more...

New UK International Tour Operator Member – Exodus Travels
26 January 2016

Leading UK adventure travel specialist, Exodus Travels, joins TOFTigers bringing with it a strong commitment to responsible tourism. With over forty years of experience in sustainable wildlife, trekking, cycling and cultural holidays, Exodus offers more than 450 trips in over 90 countries from tiger safaris in India to trekking expeditions in the Alps. Exodus guide Paul Goldstein, an award-winning photographer, has raised more than £100,000 to help save Bengal tigers supporting local projects in Bandhavgarh. - Read more...

Congratulations to Barahi Jungle Lodge, Chitwan Nepal for achieving an Outstanding PUG eco-rating
14 January 2016

Set in 30 acres on the banks of Rapti River, Barahi Jungle Lodge’s glorious location looks out over the tall golden grasslands and verdant forest and green hills of Chitwan National Park. Combining luxury with rustic charm, the lodge offer 35 boutique en suite rooms in Tharu-inspired thatched villas which blend with their surroundings. Explore the surrounding glories of nature with expert home-grown naturalists by small paddle boats, a comfortable vehicle or elephant back, or for those with a taste for adrenalin, on foot. Spend time with 4 resident elephants and enjoy learning about them, unwind around the pool and enjoy a range of Indian and continental cuisines cooked with fresh local produce. Enjoy lively musical performances by Tharu dancers around a campfire. Congratulations to Barahi for achieving an Outstanding PUG eco-rating. - Read more...

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