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Tourism Regulation in Ecologically Sensitive Areas
January 11, 2011

Call for Action!

Click here to download 'Tourism Regulation in Ecologically Sensitive Areas-11 Jan 2011-EQUATIONS', 85Kb. The same can be read below too.

Tourism Regulation in Ecologically Sensitive Areas

EQUATIONS concerns on tourism regulation in ecologically sensitive areas

11 January 2011

In a letter to Shri. Sujit Banerjee, Chairman, Committee – Guidelines for Forest and Wildlife Ecotourism set up by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), we raise certain issues such as the need to expand the scope of regulation of tourism beyond tiger reserves, the composition of the committee, non-acknowledgement of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 in the Terms of Reference (ToR) and on the process of finalising the guidelines.

To                                                                                                                    11th January 2011
Sujit Banerjee,
Chairman, Committee – Guidelines for forest and wildlife ecotourism
Ministry of Environment and Forest, National Tiger Conservation Authority
Annexe No 5, Bikaner House, Shahjahan Raod, New Delhi - 110011
Dear Mr Banerjee,

Wishes for 2011!

We refer to the GO number 7-16/2010-NTCA dated 28th December 2010 for constituting a Committee for finalising the guidelines for forest and wildlife ecotourism.

We welcome the idea of ensuring that tourism is regulated particularly in ecologically sensitive areas. We however have the following concerns / suggestions which we hope you will be willing to engage with:

1. Unregulated tourism has impacted a whole range of ecologically sensitive areas and ecosystems. For the Committee to focus only on tiger reserves is a limited scope. We would like the regulation of tourism in a range of ecosystems to be considered.
2. Following this, the composition of the committee therefore seems overly weighted towards tiger conservationists. We are concerned that other perspectives particularly those of forest based committees, communities dependant on natural resources and small and community based player in tourism, will not find its way into the committee’s deliberations.
3. The Forest Rights Act is a key legislation which the Committee does not seem to acknowledge and reflect in its Terms of Reference and in the constitution of members.
4. The Indian Board for Wildlife, in its XXI meeting in January 2002 resolved that “lands falling within 10 km of the boundaries of National Parks and Wildlife 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 are found cheek by jowl in the immediate periphery of every Protected Area of repute. The Ministry of Tourism’s Report on survey of tourist accommodation in and around Corbett National Park has shown the negative impacts of tourist resorts and lodges. The Terms of Reference of this Committee does not give any indication of how its recommendations will carry any more weight than the earlier guidelines, recommendations and notifications that have been flouted with impunity by the tourism industry. 
5. The process by which the Committee will finalise its guidelines needs to be made clear:
a. Will its guidelines be open to influence and consultation by other stakeholders? If so how and when.
b. What are the documents on impacts of tourism in ecologically sensitive areas that the Committee is open to studying? EQUATIONS and other organisations and researchers have over the past many years produced papers and reports on these issues which we would like the Committee to take into account.

We sincerely hope that you see our inputs in the spirit of contributing towards responsible and sustainable tourism.

We look forward you hearing from you.

Rosemary Viswanath

Copy to:
• Rajen Habib Khawja, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism
• T Chaterjee, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest

Contact us at:
campaigns@equitabletourism.org, info@equitabletourism.org
+91-80-2545-7607 / 2545-7659
EQUATIONS, # 415, 2C-Cross, 4th Main, OMBR Layout, Banaswadi, Bangalore 560043, India