Monday, January 17, 2011

Gir Lions Attract More Tourists in the Last Quarter of 2010.

By: Rang7 Team January 7, 2011 
The Asiatic lions have just scored a high on popularity amongst tourist. The tourism flow to Gir Forest National Park, the sole home of the Asiatic lion species outside Africa has increased to 96 %. This includes the 33% increase in foreign tourist visiting the Gir Forest National Park from October to December 2010, when the park opened to tourist again, after being closed to tourist for the monsoon period.
In 2009, from 1st October to 31st December, about 25,801 tourists visited the sanctuary, while the number was increased to 50,714 from 15th October to 31st December 2010. The increase in tourist numbers is especially surprising as the National Park opened as late as 15th October and even after that, tourism was affected due to heavy rain for four days. These numbers include 2,342 foreign tourists having visited the Gir Sanctuary in 2010 against 1,827 in 2009 for the period from October to December 2010. This expresses a 33% increase in the foreign tourist inflow to the National Park.

Running parallel to the increased tourist inflow to the Gir Forest National Park is the revenue earned by the park. Last year total revenue earned by the park was 2.1 crore. However from October to December 2010, the park including Gir and Devaliya forest earned Rs. 1.45 crore which amounts to 70% of last year’s earnings.
The popularity of Gir Forest National Park increased with media attention directed towards the Asiatic lion conservation that was undertaken at the park. Also a recent lion census conducted in April 2010, revealed that the forests of Gir Forest National Park is home to 411 lions. This apart there have been reports of 90% sightings of lions by tourist on their safaris. "This year, the attention of media as well as experts was on Gir forest as the first population estimation took place after the 2007 poaching incident. This got due coverage and an awareness was also created," said a senior officer.Apart from foreign tourist, domestic tourist which includes visitors other than people from Gujarat has increased by 41%.

Gir Forest National Park also called as Sasan Gir was declared as a protected area in 1900 by the then Nawab of Junagadh.

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