Sunday, March 27, 2011

A hub for tourism

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN Mar 27, 2011, 06.04am IST

Located in the heart of India, Nagpur offers the best location to take off to the forests of Vidarbha and Madhya Pradesh. No wonder tourists usually pass through the city.

Chartered accountant Indranil Dani believes that declaring Nagpur as a tiger capital is the need of the hour. "Every year, the number of tourists is doubling in the region and their only attraction is tiger. Even for going to world famous resorts like Kanha and Bandhavgarh, tourist take the Nagpur route," he said.

Vinit Arora, a wildlife photographer and activist, feels that the government must do something for conservation of tigers which are dwindling at a fast pace. "Giving the status of a tiger capital would certainly boost the tourism but huge infrastructure needs to be created to make it a reality. Mere announcements are not enough," he said.

Citing the incident of Katlabodi tigress which fell into an open well, he pointed out that there is no rescue centre for the animals and birds. "The forest department and the government must make provision of a rescue centre and sanction a land for it," said Arora.

Travel agency operator Padma Gupta says she is are getting more bookings for Pench than Kanha and Bandhavgarh. "The trend is shifting since the last one year with more sightings being reported in Pench. Even the foreign bookings we get is for Pench and Tadoba. When we asked tourists the reason, they say they want a change and feel that Pench jungle is more dense and beautiful than those in Madhya Pradesh," she says.

For Amit Naseri, a wildlife enthusiast working with an international travel agency, other animals which are rare but hardly sighted are also equally important. "Making the city as tiger capital is OK but other animals like leopard, jackals and wild dogs are also important. In fact, you would be lucky if you get to sight them as they are too sensitive and don't come out in open. Importantly, the people need to enjoy the jungles and its pleasant atmosphere."

A regular tourist to wildlife places Raja Abhyankar believes that the government should also step up efforts to educate the children about protecting environment including trees and animals. "They need to make aware that very survival of human beings depends on environment," he says, adding that wildlife offers huge potential to the region in terms of revenue.

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