10 years of success

TOFT 10 years of success

TOFTigers 10th Anniversary at the Royal Geographical Society in London

TOFTigers celebrated its 10th Anniversary with an evening of talks at the prestigious Royal Geographical Society in London in May 2015 attended by more than 350 people. Julian Matthews of TOFTigers, Colin Bell, a pioneer in the African safari industry and founder of Wilderness Safaris, and WWF’s Jeffrey Parrish issued a call to action to ensure the safari industry responds to global species decline.

Read a summary of the talks or view them:

TOFTigers has achieved as a largely voluntary campaign

TOFTigers is the only global collective travel trade action campaign that focuses on South Asia’s wildlands and wildlife.

  • TOFTigers uses Business to Business (B2B) supply chain pressure to change travel trade and consumer behaviour from the inside - and the outside.

  • We have 140 of the best travel businesses in India and the rest of the world supporting TOFTigers, and agreeing a code of conduct in their operations.

  • TOFTigers operates in India and Nepal and covers 21 protected areas.

  • TOFTigers funded and helped to legally challenge a nature tourism ban in 2012

  • TOFTigers created the ‘PUG eco rating’ ‘fairtrade’ accommodation kitemark, which allows travellers and companies to make better choices - now recognised internationally as an accreditation tool by the UN backed Global Sustainable Tourism Council. 70 of India and Nepal’s finest lodges already carry the kitemark with scope to roll this out much more widely.

  • TOFTigers has funded and trained over 700 park and tourism personnel in Madhya Pradesh in field guiding and game driving and the entire senior Tiger reserve and Tourism Development Corporation staff in Maharashtra in sustainable tourism.

  • TOFTigers has published two Good Wildlife Travel Guide and numerous other publications for visitors and the industry.

  • We run the TOFTigers Wildlife Tourism Awards every two years as a focus to highlight the very best practices and nature tourism providers in India.

  • TOFTigers has highlighted at numerous events, conferences and workshops, the power of well run nature tourism to save habitats, give them economic value and generate sustainable livelihoods.

  • TOFTigers is galvanising the NGO community in India to recognise nature tourism as a conservation tool.

  • TOFTigers is pioneering a Village Wildlife Guardian scheme funded by travel companies and travellers. It presently supports ten such guardians.

Has TOFTigers succeeded?

No not yet. Why?

  • We are up against institutional barriers and blinkers, a lack of coordinated tourism planning, often poor practices, land speculation and a shortage of tourism skills, training and expertise.

  • There is a massive boom in domestic tourism without proper planning in place to manage or monitor this growth around park borders, or instruction to ensure its ecological sustainability and limits to its use.

  • A desperate lack of inspirational and educational expertise to turn visitors into an army of nature lovers and skilled conservationists for the present and future.

  • There is much more work to be done, and change is afoot to do this but we need continued support from national and state Governments, the nature travel trade, the NGO community, funders, the media and travellers.