Hoteliers eyeing business opportunities around the Gir National Park in Gujarat ought to start looking for options elsewhere, as the Forests & Environment Department, Gujarat, has banned setting up new hotels within a two kilometre radius of the sanctuary.
According to a report in the Times of India, the department recently issued a notification restricting the building of any new hotel businesses in a two kilometre radius of the national park. The decision is aimed at giving Asiatic lions free access to the Sasan Gir sanctuary and to protect their natural corridor.
Forest officials said, however, that the hotels and farmhouses which are already in business would be unaffected by the new regulation and could function as earlier. Apparently, after the tourism department's advertisements featuring Gujarat’s brand ambassador, Amitabh Bachchan, there was a mad rush of the tourists to the sanctuary. Sensing opportunities, businessmen started buying land in the area, which consequently forced the State Forest Department to come out with the regulation.