India's Supreme Court has again extended the ban on tiger tourism in the country, in place since July 2012 and set to have extreme consequences for tourism in the region.
As the tiger tourism season begins in early October, tourists are being forced to either cancel their trips or forego a sighting of the tigers in their natural habitat.
Though tour operators are endeavouring to offer different tour packages in the region, many believe that potential visitors are being seriously deterred by the ban.
The ban, which has been applied to the 'core areas' of India's tiger reserves, came after the submission of a 'public interest litigation' by conservationist Ajay Dubey. He claims that tourism is responsible for the fall in the number of tigers left in the wild, believed to be as few as 3,200.
The Indian government has reportedly proposed less severe restrictions, but these would still limit the amount of tourists able to enter the reserves as well as making 80% of their land completely off-limits.
Chairman of Travel Operators for Tigers, Julian Matthews, told the Telegraph that the on-going delays could put thousands out of work as well as creating implications for prospective tourists.
"The 'core areas' are where 99 per cent of visitors go, so tiger tourism has effectively been halted," he said, adding that "these restrictions would put thousands of drivers and guides out of work, and could see holiday prices go through the roof."
The Supreme Court is due to reconvene on 9 October, but it is unclear as to whether a decision will be reached in time to save this tourist season.
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The editorial team.