Tiger tourism decision delayed as campaign group tries to stir up concern

by Tiffany Millar on October 4, 2012

A ban on tourism across India’s tiger reserves continues to threaten the livelihoods of workers while ruining holidaymakers’ plans and doing nothing with regards to protecting the animals – as alleged by a campaign group that is dedicated to travelling more responsibly.

The ban, applying to the “main areas” of India’s total 41 reserves, first came into effect in July only on the grounds that the endangered species would be protected. It has been estimated that as few as 3,200 tigers remain in the wild.

The new guidelines on tiger tourism have been proposed by India’s government since the ban. If accepted, they would see the current ban relaxed, however this week the supreme court, for what was the second time in under a fortnight, delayed its decision on whether or not to allow tiger tourism tourists to return.

The ban has thus far had a limited impact, however October marks the beginning of the season for tiger tourism, and Julian Matthews, the Travel Operators for Tigers’ chairman, said that the ongoing delays might put thousands of Indians out of work.

Mr Matthews commented that now marks a scary time for India’s tiger tourism industry and that   ‘core areas’ are where, currently, 99 per cent of the total visitors to the Subcontinent country head. Worryingly, Matthews concluded, there are entire towns reliant on tourism.

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