not to affect State tourism (aug 11,2012, Assam Tribune)
Aug 11 – Tour operators based in Assam have put at rest
speculation that the recent Supreme Court order on
tourism inside ‘Core Areas’ of Tiger Reserves will
adversely affect tourist activities in the State’s
The country’s apex court has ordered that all tourism
activities be stopped inside the core areas of Tiger
Reserves, to conserve tigers and their habitat. It
created ripples among a section in the tourism sector.
While it may have implications for some Protected Areas
like Kanha and Corbett, “We in Assam need not be
concerned,” stated the Tour Operators Association of
Assam (TOAA), in a press meet held here today.
According to the TOAA, no tourists can have access to
the Core Areas of the parks and sanctuaries in Assam, as
the well-defined tourist circuits do not intrude into
those highly-protected natural environment. Therefore,
the question of tourism being affected by a ban or
regulation inside the core areas does not arise in the
context of Assam.
The present reality in the case of national parks such
as Kaziranga, Manas, and Nameri, which contain tiger
populations, is that all tourism activities take place
away from core areas in very small and regulated routes.
Moreover, even those areas where safaris are allowed,
forest personnel keep a strict vigil to deter any
environmentally detrimental act.
“Unlike some protected areas in other parts of the
country, there are no construction activities going on
in the Core Areas of national parks in Assam,” claimed
Bhaskar J Barua, TOAA joint secretary.
Barua told the media that sending accurate information
to tourists is essential because misleading messages can
result in cancelled bookings and loss to the tourism
sector that provides employment to a large number of
Noted conservationist Soumyadeep Datta, underlined the
links between tourism and conservation in Assam, and
mentioned that a balance between tourist activities and
conservation efforts exists in the state till now.
“Tourism activities inside the Protected Areas – not
within Core Areas – can also act as a tool of
vigilance,” he mentioned. Visitors can report any
threats to the environment which they might have
observed inside a national park or sanctuary.
Datta expressed support to responsible eco-tourism in
Assam, reasoning that such endeavours are also a part
and parcel of the conservation movement in Assam. He
appreciated the Supreme Court’s order, but added that
conservation efforts to protect the tigers should also
extend to other areas populated by the species.
no bar for tourism(The Telegraph-12 aug,2012 issue)
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
a wildlife safari at Kairanga National Park. File
Aug. 11: Tour Operators Association of Assam, a forum of
38 tour operators, has made it clear that the Supreme
Court order on tiger tourism will have no impact on the
The association today said core areas of three tiger
reserves in Assam are still untouched by tourism
activities and the ban would not have any impact on the
flow of wildlife enthusiasts.
A senior forest official said the order would not have
any impact in the state as hotels and resorts are far
from the core areas. Buffer areas have already been
notified in Assam’s tiger reserves.
The Supreme Court, in its order on July 24, made it
clear that till final directions are issued, the core
zones or core areas in the tiger reserves will not be
used for tourism. The final order is expected to be
passed on August 22.
“After the Supreme Court’s order there was a lot of
apprehension among tour operators in the state. We have
come forward to allay all such fears. Wildlife tourism
in the three tiger reserves will not be affected because
tourism activities in the state’s tiger reserves are all
outside core areas,” the association’s joint secretary,
Bhaskar J. Barua, said here today.
There are six tiger reserves in the Northeast — three in
Assam (Kaziranga tiger reserve, Manas tiger reserve and
Nameri tiger reserve), two in Arunachal Pradesh (Namdapha
tiger reserve and Pakhui tiger reserve) and one in
Mizoram (Dampa tiger reserve). Of the six, Kaziranga
gets the maximum number of tourists. Assam government
has also constituted a Kaziranga Biodiversity
Conservation Committee to look into the mushrooming of
resorts and ensure ecologically compliant development
outside the park.
Kaziranga park authorities said they have taken up the
initiative to declare it an eco-sensitive zone to help
restrict or prohibit activities detrimental to the park.
The activities would be classified into three areas —
prohibited, regulated and permissible — to minimise, or
preferably eliminate, any negative impact on it and
ensure that the park is safe for the future.
Though the ministry had earlier said “lands falling
within 10km of boundaries of national parks and
sanctuaries should be notified as eco-fragile zones,” it
later modified it, saying that the declaration of
eco-sensitive zones should be site-specific and relate
to regulation rather than prohibition of specific
In the case of Manas, the World Heritage Committee has
asked the Centre to include clear guidelines for the
number of tourists permissible and activities in order
to ensure that the fragile and recovering outstanding
value of the property is not negatively affected.
Barua welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision saying that
it would go a long way in helping tiger conservation in
the country and free core areas of tiger reserves from
any kind of external disturbances. He said the apex
court direction would help tiger reserves where lot of
tourism activity is taking place in core areas.
“As our tourism activities are outside core areas, our
tour operators do not have to worry about the Supreme
Court direction,” he said. With tourism season starting
from November, the association members said bookings
have already started.