The global economic crisis has hit the inflow of foreign tourists, but wildlife tourism is cruising along fine.
The latest entrant is Leisure Hotels which will be launching five wildlife resorts.
A wildlife park contains several high end luxury cottages or tented suites built with a rustic ambience close to a national park. The hotels typically tie up with Safari operators.
Leisure Hotels has bought around 50 acres of land and has received approvals to build five such parks at Corbett National Park, Pench National Park (Madhya Pradesh), Kanha National Park (Madhya Pradesh), Rajaji National Park (Uttaranchal) and Philibhit National Park in western U.P. They will all be ready by 2010.
“We are in touch with 500 foreign agents and 4,000 domestic agents besides the general sales agents market to promote this business,” said Vibhas Prasad, director, Leisure hotels.
In October 2008, Taj Hotels which launched the business under the brand Taj Safaris added two new luxury lodges at Pashan Garh (Panna National Park) and Banjaar Tola (Kanha National Park). It has also tied up with CC Africa Conservation Corporation, a leading ecotourism company.
However, Sunil Sikka, marketing head of Welcome Heritage, a unit of ITC Hotels, said, “About 15 per cent of the total sales come from wildlife resorts. The business is down this year by 15 to 20 per cent over the previous year for ITC Welcome Heritage (it has 61 hotels).”