Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Eco-tourism and Ban on toursim in Tiger core-areas

In the debate on tourism in core-areas of tiger reserves, these are the following stakeholders:
- Protection of tigers
- Protection and conservation of other wildlife in reserves
-  Local communities- rights protected by the Forest Rights Act.
- Local employment generated by tiger tourism
- Tourism industry- both those making a fast buck, and those encouraging sustainable tourism
- General people's right to enjoy wildlife, and their responsibility towards conservation

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines on Ecotourism. (July 2012)
Ecotourism is defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the wellbeing of local people". Ecotourism should include tourism that is community-based and community-driven. Such tourism is low-impact, educational, conserves ecology and environment, while directly benefiting economic development of local communities. 

Following these guidelines the Supreme Court banned Tourism in core areas of Tiger Reserves. This was met with much criticism by the tourism industry. The NCTC has given a revised set of guidelines to the SC on 27 September 2012.

Old v New

  • The old guidelines restricted tourism activity in the areas of tiger reserves from where forest dwellers have been relocated to make space for the big cat. The new guidelines have tweaked it to say that no tourism infrastructure will be allowed in the areas from where relocation has taken place
  • The old guidelines called for allowing only community-based tourism in 10 to 20 per cent of the core zones, depending on the size. The new guidelines say that up to 20 per cent area of the core zones of the tiger reserves can be opened up for tourism
  • The old guidelines called for imposing a 10 per cent cess on the turnover of the hotels and resorts for community development. The new guidelines have sought to leave it to the state governments to decide the rate of cess. The guidelines say a conservation fee could be charged between Rs 500 to Rs 3,000 per month, per room, depending upon the luxury classification of the tourist facility

    1. NTCA, not NCTC :)

    2. :D Haan voich. Am losing my marbles on this last day. Thanks for the correction-will remember in the exam, varna vahan bhi yehi likh ke aati.

    3. Wish I saw this post before the exam and not after!