Operators use online bookings to lure Corbett visitors
Bookings for next year have started, management accepts discrepancy in website.dehradun Updated: May 13, 2017 21:02 IST
Private operators make a quick buck through online bookings for visits to Corbett Tiger Reserve by luring tourists with attractions, such as gala feasts and photography competitions, officials said.
When the reserve gates were opened for tourists on November 15 last year, the management detected a case in which an operator had promised luxury breakfast to about 10 tourists near Khinanauli forest rest house (FRH).
The reserve does not offer such facility. The management realised that a private party had booked the group’s visit.
“We came to know of this discrepancy beforehand and managed to avoid it. We have canteens but no system of throwing feasts for the tourists, as promised by their operator,” Corbett director Surendra Mehra told Hindustan Times.
There’s no provision under which the management can stop bookings for tourists. Taking advantage of this, private operators easily make bookings for visitors and earn handsome amounts; they pay only government rates to the reserve and promote packages.
Sources said many operators have started locking dates for visitors between June 1 and 14, though the management has not started online bookings for the period. Bookings are done only three days before because of chances of rainfall. The reserve will be shut down on June 15.
“The bookings of many tourists have already been confirmed during the period when on-spot bookings are done. How are they doing it?” asked a source in the forest department.
A website, goingwild.in, has declared its photography tour package for the next year as well. The operators are booking participation for April 2-6, 2018.
The management accepts lacuna in the online system owing to which common people fail to make bookings.
“Some people reported this discrepancy regarding booking and we are trying to fix it,” Mehra said.
The Corbett deputy director had reported this matter to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) in March this year, suspecting hacking of the official website through which bookings are made. About two years ago, the management had to shift to a separate website after the initial one was hacked for bookings.