Indi Glow adjudged Gold winner in “Sustainability Champions: Pathfinders” and “Overall Winner” in outlook responsible tourism awards 2023.

Itanagar, Mar 17: Indi Glow has been adjudged Gold winner in the “Sustainability Champions: Pathfinders” and “Overall Winner” in the outlook responsible tourism awards 2023 held at Ooty, Tamil Nadu today. 

Glow who started his eco camp at Lama camp in West Kameng in 2004 has been instrumental in setting up Arunachal’s first ever high income-low impact tourism targeted towards bird-watchers in the Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve and Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary.

 He has unique camping facilities providing only vegetarian meals to tourists, no permission to use single use plastic materials and tourists are given a cloth bag for returning inevitable single use plastic items on a security deposit basis. Overall, a high-income low volume tourism model aiming at serious birders and to discourage leisure travelers to wilderness. His tourism model at Lama camp has substantially transformed the local economy by generating significant rural employment, and it has led to massive support for wildlife conservation. 

Almost every family in the villages in the region have or have had members employed as cooks, drivers, camp staff and expert bird guides. Local traders have seen incomes go up greatly as they now supply provisions, fresh vegetables and other goods to Lama Camp. Entry fees and vehicle fees are deposited with the community and are used for village development activities. The fact that so many substantial incomes (e.g., an expert bird guide can charge up to Rs. 10,000 per day for their services) are generated because of the persistence of forests and wildlife in this landscape, there is now massive support for the preservation of forests and its wildlife by all stakeholders in the area.

Glow’s tourism and conservation efforts have led to massive reductions in hunting and forest resource extraction. Since 2012, Glow has been providing his tourism facilities and the services of his staff for free to host residential wildlife and conservation awareness camps for middle school and high school students from 10 schools in the area. 

These camps have been held every year in the and over 600 students have attended these week-long camps, with some moving on to become passionate birdwatchers, expert bird guides and voices for conservation in their respective villages. Other villages in Arunachal Pradesh have expressed interest in replicating this model, with similar tourism initiatives having been initiated in the neighboring villages of Rupa and Shergaon.

Indi Glow’s tourism model has transformed Lama Camp from being a center of forest exploitation to the flagship eco-tourism center of the SBVCR-EWS landscape. 300-400 birdwatchers visit the landscape every year. 

The Bugun community has voluntarily declared 47 sq km of their traditional lands as a Community Reserve. Over 600 bird species are found in the SBVCR-EWS landscape. In addition, the Critically Endangered Bugun Liocichla (Liocichla bugunorum), a bird species discovered in 2006 and named after the Bugun community, is only found on the traditional lands of Singchung village. The known global population of Bugun liocichla is not more than 20 individual birds with a worldwide range of just around 2 sq km. Name of the bird has been dedicated to the Bugun tribe for their pioneering eco-tourism and conservation efforts. 

This Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve encompasses the entire global range of the Bugun Liocichla, in addition to red panda, clouded leopard, Asiatic wild dog, Asiatic black bear, Asian elephant and the Fairrie’s Lady Slipper Orchid. 

The award was presented by K Ramachandran, Minister for Tourism, Government of TamilNadu in presence of Dr. K. Chnadra Mohan, IAS, Principal Secretary (Tourism), Government of Tamil Nadu. 

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