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For Ranthambhore ride, tourists paying 3 times the price

Sunday, 12 January 2014 - 1:30pm IST | Place: Jaipur | Agency: DNA
Kartikey Dev Singh journeys through the bowels of Ranthambhore and Keoladeo national parks to return with amazing insight into the throbbing wildlife at the two protected areas as the tourist season peaks in Raj. He also bumps into a caucus of locals fleecing tourists at Ranthambhore and delayed arrival of birds from China and middle-east due to climate changes. dna brings you interesting tales from our own Jungle Book .

People from all over the world throng the Ranthambhore National Park to spot the striped felines and other animals that abound here. However, tourism in the park is happening at the expense of the tourists who visit this park, sources say. Loopholes in the ticket distribution for safari has not only made it possible for the locals to exploit the tourists but also the nature observers and wildlife enthusiasts who visit this park regularly.

Every day the morning and evening safaris in the park are conducted, wherein forty vehicles per safari are allowed, an official said. The bookings are done in two ways - advance and current. The advance bookings are done first after which if there are any cancellations or vacant seats, current booking is opened to the tourists. 

“Advance booking is done three months in advance and the tickets are sold within a few hours. However the problem here is that locals and the hoteliers book tickets on fake identities,” sources said, adding, “These tickets are later cancelled and re-issued to the hotel guests. The hotel owners make a lot of money on these tickets as these are “sold in black” wherein the price of each ticket goes up to thrice the original price.” Last year, two canters were caught by the forest department that were booked and later sold in the same way, an official told dna.

As if this isn’t enough to exploit the tourists, the method of selling current tickets is nothing short of a menace. “No one knows how many tickets would be released. One has to reach the ticket window before 5 am,” said sources.

However, this is not the only hindrance. “If the ticket is issued, the person has to find the vehicle in which the tourist will be going. Then time is wasted in looking for a guide. Once that is done, the car driver then goes through different hotels where the tourists for the particular vehicle are. Once this is done, the vehicles and tourists are checked at the entry point. By this time two hours are wasted and the tourists only get a couple of hours in the park,” sources said.

The current bookings were earlier sold just after the safari time ended i.e in afternoon and late evenings. The driver and guides knew of their tourists and where to pick them from. 

Adv booking sold out!
The bookings are done in two ways, advance and current. First, the advance bookings are done after which if there is any cancellation or remaining seats, the current booking is opened. According to sources at the park, advance booking is done three-months in advance. But even then, the tickets are sold within a few hours. 

Tickets cancelled, re-issued
These tickets are later cancelled and re-issued to the hotel guests. The hotel owners make a lot of money on these tickets as these are blacked wherein the price of each ticket goes thrice the original price. A lot of loopholes in the ticket distribution is not only troublesome for the nature guides but also to the tourists.

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