There are 3 tiger reserves in the state and the 4th one at Ramgarh Vishdhari has been approved by Government of India. Wildlife Institute of India is doing a field survey and study to ascertain the feasibility for the 5th tiger reserve at Kumbhalgarh. This was informed by Sreya Guha, Principal Secretary – Forest & Environment, Government of Rajasthan. She mentioned that Project Tiger has been one of the most successful conservation programmes across the world. Rajasthan is one of few states to form and organise the meeting of Interagency Coordination Committee for checking poaching, smuggling, etc. She was speaking at the FICCI Webinar on “Tigers & Tourism” organised on the eve of International Tiger Day.
Guha mentioned that the Ecotourism Policy was recently announced with an aim to develop new destinations and products, promote experiential tourism. She further stated that the Department is working on three projects, first one is the Chambal Sanctuary which can act as an extension to Ranthambore providing the entire ecosystem experience including Tiger. Second one is Tal Chhapar where we are developing a Grassland Wildlife Management Centre for capacity building and stay. It can develop as a circuit with Shekhawati region. Third is Ghana where we are upgrading the existing facility, training centre on wetland tourism and digital museum. She mentioned that Responsible and Sustainable Tourism is the way forward for preserving and showcasing our natural heritage.
Speaking on the occasion, Nishant Jain, Director – Tourism, Government of Rajasthan said that Tiger is the most fascinating and intriguing species among the entire cat family. The economic impact of Tigers on the areas outside reserves has been tremendous, supporting tourism, livelihoods and entrepreneurship, he added. He mention that the Tigress Machali has been the most photographed tigress on which many documentaries and films were made, even stamp was issued for her. All this has helped promote tourism in a big way and her descendants are living in our reserves. With 2 more tiger reserves likely to come in Rajasthan, it would provide a significant boost to tourism. Department of Tourism would promote wildlife tourism aggressively in its marketing campaigns, he added.
Appreciating the initiatives of Government of Rajasthan, Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF India said that It is the tremendous commitment by Government of Rajasthan to have declared Ramgarh Vishdhari as a Tiger reserve and is a great step forward in the development of wildlife tourism in the state. Rajasthan has been a great contributor of increasing tiger population in India. The existing tiger reserves in Rajasthan should also be managed as landscape not just standalone areas, like greater Ranthambore landscape would include Kaurali, Keladevi, Dhaulpur, corridor from Baretha to Bharatpur, these areas should be managed accordingly. He also added that eco-tourism must manifest local values and benefits of eco-tourism must go to local communities where the area is located.
Welcoming the participants, Randhir Vikram Singh, Co-Chairman, FICCI Rajasthan and CMD, Mandawa Hotels said that Tourism can be a great enabler in conservation of Tigers as it creates economic opportunities for communities around the reserves and their livelihoods are interlinked to the success of the reserves in protecting and multiplying the wildlife.
While delivering the concluding remarks, Surendra Singh Shahpura, Chairman, Shahpura Hotels said that Eco Tourism policy will open new doors for enterprises and hoteliers for coming up with new products as well as help in generating local employment.