MP to scale up tourism in tiger reserve buffer zones | bhopal | Hindustan Times
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MP to scale up tourism in tiger reserve buffer zones

The Madhya Pradesh government plans to scale up tourism activities in buffer zones of tiger reserves to promote the locales and improve the source of income for residents.

bhopal Updated: Nov 26, 2014 15:13 IST
Rahul Noronha

The Madhya Pradesh government plans to scale up tourism activities in buffer zones — areas of land outside the core regions for environmental protection — of tiger reserves to promote the locales and improve the source of income for the residents.

Activities such as spending nights at tribal huts, walks in the forests, bullock-cart rides, etc., at the Bandhavgarh National Park, which boasts of the highest concentration of tigers in the world, would begin January 1, field director CH Murlikrishna said.

With the number of vehicles allowed in the core zone of the park at a time curtailed and a cap on the area open for tourism, according to a 2012 Supreme Court order, the state has long been planning the expansion of tourism in the buffer areas. Three new areas — Panpatha, Manpur and Damokhar — would also be opened in the 820 sq km buffer zone of the Bandhavgarh reserve at the start of the next year, Murlikrishna said.

Other activities in the buffer zone would include witnessing and participating in traditional pottery-making and paddy cultivation and tribal food tasting. ‘Amavasya’ and ‘poornima’ packages would also be worked out for tourists who wish to spend such nights in the forest out of religious beliefs.

“The objective is to make the residents of 164 villages located in the buffer area direct beneficiaries of income from tourism so that their unstinted support to conservation is enlisted,” Murlikrishna said.

The price of entry tickets to the buffer areas would also be considerably lowered to match the charge in non-sanctuary areas as part of the promotional scheme, he added.

Other reserves such as Kanha, too, are planning to expand the scope of tourism in their buffer areas. “Presently tourists can go for walks on nature trails and jeep rides,” field director of the Kanha National Park, JS Chauhan, said.