Karnataka

Bandipur sees surge in tourist footfall

The tourist rush began in the run-up to Christmas and has continued unabated since then.  

Bandipur National Park, known for tigers and elephants, is witnessing a surge in tourist footfall since the last two weeks.

The tourist rush began in the run-up to the Christmas and has continued unabated since then and over 600 people have been availing themselves of the safari facilities on a daily basis.

Park officials said the tourist rush peaked on weekends and it was no different on Sunday when the parking lot in front of the booking office at Melkamanahalli was packed with vehicles. “We reckon the tourist footfall to decline again as the hangover of Christmas and New Year celebrations, which were a low key affair due to the pandemic, will subside from Monday,” according to a park official.

Though December and January tend to be a holiday season, the pandemic has kept outstation tourists away though there were quite a few visitors from the bordering Tamil Nadu and Kerala. By and large, it is tourists from Mysuru-Bengaluru region and those drawn from rest of Karnataka as the thrust is on tapping local clients during the recovery period.

The weather condition and increased rate of sighting tigers and other wildlife also make Bandipur a preferred choice for tourists and this is being witnessed since the third week of December.

Though sighting a tiger is a matter of chance despite their huge numbers in the park, elephants and leopards have been sighted regularly during the last few days, according to local staff in charge of running the safari.

More than 50% of the tourists make an online booking for safaris as the vehicles tend to get full and hence one bus has been reserved for walk-in tourists.

Bandipur is well connected to places of tourist interest, including Ooty and Wayanad, and hence tourists enroute to these places make it a point to visit the park. Its ideal location and proximity to Mysuru has shored up its popularity quotient but is also turning out to be a bane. Wildlife activists have called for studying the carrying capacity of the park to restrict the tourist footfall. But park officials maintain that it was well within the limits as less than 10% of the 874 sq km tiger reserve was open to tourists. Besides, the tourism counter has been shifted from the reception to Melkamanahalli to prevent large congregation in the core area and it was paying dividends by way of greater freedom for animal movement, aver the officials.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 1:00:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bandipur-sees-surge-in-tourist-footfall/article33488222.ece

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