Pilibhit Tiger Reserve to be upgraded to attract tourists

The Uttar Pradesh government is all set to upgrade facilities

at Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) in order to attract more tourists in the coming seasons.

The regional tourist officer, UP tourism, B.P. Singh said three signature gates had been planned for the reserve.

One gate would be constructed at the junction point of Pilibhit-Basti national highway, the second one would be near Mustafabad forest guest house and the third, on Pilibhit-Mahof forest range road.

After repairs of tourist huts at Chuka is completed, UP tourism and PTR officials would finalize 3-4 picturesque sites around PTR to develop into tourist destinations with state-of-the-art facilities, Singh added.

This venture would ensure compliance of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) directives and also help generate revenue.

Revenue is now poising a major problem for tiger reserves that have faced closure during lockdown.

The Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) was closed for tourists in the lockdown and has incurred a revenue loss of about 45 per cent, in comparison to the last year.

According to forest officials, Dudhwa earned nearly Rs 64 lakh in 2019, which fell to around Rs 35 lakh this year.

During the tourist season, November 15 to June 15, DTR attracts a large number of people from across India and abroad.

In 2019, nearly 49,000 tourists, including 400 foreigners, visited the reserve. The number has gone down to 27,000, including 300 foreigners, in 2020.

The DTR was closed for tourists on March 18, but the tourist season ended on Monday.

The tiger reserve will now reopen on November 15.

According to field director, Sanjay Pathak, “Of the seven months of tourism season, the reserve remained closed for three months, following the lockdown. Besides, Dudhwa was briefly closed for tourists five times in the winter due to incessant rains which also affected tourist inflow.”

Apart from nearly 100 tigers, elephants, rhinos, five types of deer, the Dudhwa park has 450 bird species, including domestic and migratory, a large number of herbivores, rich flora and fauna, grassland and wetlands.