According to a report published by Kathmandu Post on January 26, some famous old luxury jungle resorts are all set to return to Chitwan National Park after a gap of 5 years. Till 2012, resorts like Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge, Machan Wildlife Camp, Chitwan Jungle Lodge, Gaida Wildlife Camp, Island Jungle Resort and Temple Tiger Hotel were the toast of wildlife tourism in Nepal. Together, these lodges ensured that after Africa, Nepal had the biggest footfalls in terms of wildlife safaris. This changed in 2012, when lodges operating within Chitwan were told to shift outside the perimeter amidst fears of tourist activity having an inimical effect on wildlife and ecology.
But recently, a high level committee which includes the Director General of the Department of National Parks have drawn up a set of guidelines which the resorts must follow to be allowed back inside Chitwan. The forest is one of the best managed National Parks in Asia, and also a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is hoped that the guidelines would decrease the footprint of these lodges, while driving up local employment through increased tourism. The owners of many of these lodges have long maintained that the presence of the resorts had greatly contributed to anti-poaching efforts over the years. Some of the lodges, like Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge set up in 1964, are famous the world over. Currently, all forest lodges and resorts operate outside the natural boundaries formed by the Rapti and Narayani Rivers.