Further hearing on petition seeking to prevent tourism in core areas of tiger reserves is on August 22

The State government is likely to highlight the eco-tourism model being followed around the five tiger reserves in the State in the Supreme Court on August 22 when the petition seeking to prevent tourism in the core areas of tiger reserves comes up for further hearing.

This follows the ban imposed on all tourism activities in the core areas of tiger reserves across the country, including five tiger reserves in Karnataka: in Bandipur, Nagarahole, Anshi-Dandeli, Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple (BRT) and Bhadra wildlife ranges.

According to a senior Forest Department official involved in eco-tourism activities, the State government will include the Karnataka eco-tourism model in the affidavit to be filed before the Supreme Court. “We are holding talks with various stakeholders and a final picture of what would be included will emerge in three or four days,” the official added.

‘Confident’

“We are confident that the court will consider our stand as Karnataka has been in the forefront of managing eco-tourism well. In fact, our eco-tourism model differs from that followed in north and central India,” the official said and added that private hospitality services were never allowed to conduct wildlife safaris here.

Change in itinerary?

The Golden Chariot, the State’s luxury train, could see a change in the itinerary if the ban order continues. Currently, as part of the itinerary, guests are taken to Kabini Jungle Lodges and Resorts for a wildlife safari.

According to C.D. Dyavaiah, managing director of the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation, which operates the luxury train, the change will be necessitated if the ban continues. “We are not affected by the ban since our schedules commence from October. We may add an additional day in Hampi for our guests instead of Kabini,” he added.

Turnover

It is learnt that the eco-tourism sector in Karnataka has a turnover of around Rs. 100 crore with Jungle Lodges and Resorts alone contributing about Rs. 42 crore. “The revenues of eco-tourism hotels/resorts would definitely be affected by the ban. We are hoping for the best,” JLR managing director P. Anur Reddy said.

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