Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tiger Tourism

Recently I was at Kanha at the invitation of Mr. Roshan Mishra manager of Van Vilas Resort at Kanha. It was a wonderful dinner meet with sumptuous Indian cuisine served delicately..he!He!

I keep on meeting Roshan as he is a frequent visitor to Jabalpur. His is an affable fellow with deep interest in wildlife and a good perspective of tiger tourism at Kanha. Our discussion often moves around from wildlife to tiger as key stone species and tourism which so overwhelmingly looms large at Kanha come tiger safari time.

Though few months afore 1st October hectic activity starts. Management awakens after a nap at Kanha hotels to gear up for the coming tiger safari season. But generally there are days when the hotel top brass is relaxed whence all scheduled chores function well. The staff is well trained at Celebration Van Vilas Resort and hence work goes smooth.

Amidst Naturalists there is a constant debate going on regarding pro and cons of tiger safari in Central Indian National Parks. No doubt the Kanha Lodges define tiger tourism and how it should be conducted. The park authorities frame rules and manage, besides which they have very little role to play especially in tourism.

The crux of the discussion now a days is - the guest experience. Earlier and to some extent now tiger tourism at Kanha was limited to tiger chase. Once the tiger was sighted interest in Kanha dimmed and some tourist left earlier than planned.

But the lodges at Kanha began to give greater inputs employed naturalists, trained staff, increased amenities at the lodges to engage tourist to a greater extent. This began to deliver holistic perspective of Kanha to the tourists. The trained nature guides began to unfold Kanha and tourist began to see the real Kanha besides the tiger.

Kanha landscape got deserved attention so did the birds, small game, floral elements and reptiles and butterflies. This is an on going process arising out of investment not only in properties but expert man power as well.

The resort owners have realized that though the tiger sighting is the main attraction of Kanha a more holistic approach is required to increase tourism potential of the park.

Kanha has so much to offer apart from tigers - it is a biodiversity that overwhelms and amazes each and everyone only good extrapolation is required.

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