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Forest departments should leave tourism activities in Wildlife parks to professionals: Valmik Thapar

Thursday, December 21, 2017, 12:00 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | New Delhi

Renowned naturalist, conservationist and writer, Valmik Thapar has advocated management of tourism activities in the wildlife parks in the country by professionals trained in it rather than Forest Department controlling and regulating it. Thapar said that biggest problem today at wildlife parks in the country is that people with no knowledge or training are taking decisions. Thapar made these observations while speaking at a panel discussion organised as part of the CII Annual Tourism Summit in Delhi recently.

Welcoming the recent decision of the Rajasthan Government and the Forest Department to outsource the tourism activities at Van Vihar Sanctuary in Dholpur to professional agencies, Thapar said, “Once it happens, then anybody can consider the model anywhere.” He expressed the hope that Rajasthan might consider the same model to more sanctuaries and parks in the state.

Arguing for drastic changes in land use policies to unlock the potential of India in Wildlife tourism, Thapar said that “ridiculous restrictions” should go for the country to tap its potential. There are over 200 spots in India which are currently lying untapped, including 106 islands in Andamans because of highly restrictive regime. “Open these islands for tented camps, scuba, marine tourism, etc. That will at least help to prevent Thai smugglers from smuggling out our marine resources like sea cucumber,” he said. One forest guard manning an island without even knowing how to swim is not helping the cause anyway, he added.

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