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India - Supreme High Court lifts ban on visiting Tiger and other nature reserves.

We are pleased to announce that the interim ban on tourism in tiger reserves has been lifted by the Supreme Court of India at the hearing in New Delhi on the 16th October. Tourism within tiger reserves can resume but in strict compliance with the guidelines that were notified and gazetted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, Ministry of Environment & Forests.

These guidelines will provide the broad framework within which all states must create their own operational guidelines. The main provision that affects tourism in the short term is the provision limiting tourist entry to 20% of the core area of Tiger Reserves.

In most reserves the tourism zone is well within this area and if it is over then the parks, if required, can reduce the tourism zone to the recommended 20% in consultation with the Local Advisory Committee (LAC).

However, much latitude has been given to states in framing site specific provisions of their guidelines. Following this order the states can now open their tiger reserves at any time.

WHAT THIS MEANS…

This should mean that gates open from 17th October (bar Madhya Pradesh park who close on Wednesdays now). You might have to expect a 10% extra for accommodation as another tax. We will have to wait and see what other effects it has including carrying capacity issues and use of core areas for viewing.

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