EQUATIONS was invited to contribute a perspective piece on tourism and protected areas in PA Update.
Protected Areas (PAs) have seen increasing intensive tourism development under the guise of “ecotourism”. While the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 does allow tourists into PAs, it clearly disallows commercial establishments. The Indian Board for Wildlife, the apex advisory body, had in its XXI meeting in January 2002 resolved “lands falling within 10 km. of the boundaries of National Parks and Sanctuaries should be notified as eco-fragile zones under section 3(v) of the Environment (Protection) Act and Rule 5 Sub-rule 5(viii) & (x) of the Environment (Protection) Rules”. Despite this, a rash of tourism establishments have been established cheek by jowl in the immediate periphery of many PAs like Corbett, Ranthambore, Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Nagarahole, Bandipur, Mudumalai, and Periyar.