PATA India Chapter and WWF India jointly organised the Bagha Mitra Awards, recognising the work done at the grass-root level by custodians of wildlife, environment and nature.
The awards ceremony, held on December 19, was attended by environmentalists, special interest groups, and governments which promote sustainable tourism, wildlife and ecotourism, along with travel industry stakeholders. The event was graced with the presence of Runeep Sangha, Executive Director, PATA India Chapter, Inder Sharma, Life Member PATA and Member of PATA Foundation, and Ravi Singh, Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer, WWF India. Sharma appealed to the travel industry players to take greater interest in tiger conservation and wildlife sanctuaries in the country. He said, “The initiative has already proved that the population of tigers has increased in the countryand the idea of this event is to reward people who are doing good work in the field of conservation of tigers.”
Jatinder Taneja, Honorary Secretary, PATA India Chapter, feels that this initiative has helped the travel industry understand the importance of conservation of tigers and is a source of information for inbound tour operators about various reserves that can be visited for wildlife tourism. “India is a well-known destination for wildlife tourism and the first choice amongst tourists who wish to spot tigers in their natural habitat which makes tiger conservation of utmost importance,” says Taneja. Singh informs that there have been inputs given by government agencies, both from the conservation department and the forest management and the tourism ministry, which have been inducted into guidelines that has allowed travellers to view the tigers in a safer manner in its natural habitat. He feels that these guidelines will get better with time to offer better sustainable tourism.