Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sasan Gir National Park Entry Fee - Vidyapeeth study proposes hike

Vidyapeeth student Dhara Kanojiya has deduced that people will be prepared to pay more.

As per this Gujarat Vidyapeeth student, who studies rural economics at the Gandhian institute, people will be ready to pay more to visit Gir, if they are made aware that there is more to Gir than only lions, that the sanctuary has a large number of bird species and a rich bio-diversity.

As per her latest interviews, she said that, “it’s possible for people to pay a higher entrance fee than what they pay at present to see the Gir lion. Kanojiya has used the Travel Cost Method in her research work, ‘Environmental Valuation of Gir National Park and Sanctuary’ to come to the conclusion.”

Taking into account a tourist’s cost of recreation, travel, accommodation, beside the time factor, she has deduced that people will be prepared to pay more than what they spend now. From the present entrance fee of Rs 75 to Rs 260 to see the lion and move around in Gir, it can be raised to Rs 320, which is nothing but consumer surplus.

“The increase in fee can be utilised for better maintenance of the ecosystem. It will also encourage more tourists. After calculating travel, accommodation, recreational and time cost, a thorough analysis was carried out by me. It gave a proper assimilation of cost which ultimately led to demand function showing the interest to see lions and move around Gir. Then a consumer surplus was obtained.”

“Indian tourists only know about lions in Gir and move around Devaliya parks. Most tourists don’t explore Gir sanctuary. In fact, they are not aware that it’s an abode for large number of bird species and has a rich bio-diversity. Safari is used only by foreign tourists, who are aslo aware about the bird species.”

“For Indian tourists, the most important factor for touring Gir is the distance between their place of residence and the recreational site. For them, Gir is high on their list of recreational places, while for foreign tourists Gir is one of the many places for recreation.”

“Many voiced dissatisfaction regarding inadequacy of information about Gir, limited boarding facilities and no signboards.”

Kanojiya credits her guide Nimisha Shukla, head of Economics Department for supporting her in her decision to work in the jungle and get data for it. She stayed in Gir many times for her work, talked to 92 Indian tourists and 77 foreign tourists for her survey. It must be noted that Indian tourists spend the most on travel. The cost incurred on recreational activities and food is not significantly high.

To her surprise most believe Gir to be only Devaliya Park, which is described as a large cage for lions. Areas like Tulsishyam and Mitiyala, beside Gir, are left unexplored.

Kanojiya believes it is necessary to decide an entry fee for people who visit the religious places within the national park to control their number and put a check on pollution. Access and use of jungle for the purpose of fuel wood and fodder need to be strictly checked and prohibited.

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