Thursday, October 03, 2013

Now, book your tryst with Gir lions online

Now, book your tryst with Gir lions online
The Times of India

The Gujarat forest department has launched a website to enable visitors to book permits and make payments online.

If you want to spend some time in Gir in the company of Asiatic lions, you need not worry about long queues anymore. You can book a permit online and also pay using a credit card for visits to "Gir interpretation zones" atSasan and Devaliya from this season. The sanctuary reopens for visitors on October 15. The forest department has launched a website to enable visitors to book permits and makepayments online.

Officials said a link to the forest department website will also be available on the tourism department website. The new portal will be helpful to all potential visitors who have access to the internet, particularly foreign nationals. It will also help visitors plan their trip early, sources said.

On an average, the forest department issues 90 permits on each day the sanctuary is open in a season. Of these, 50% permits will be reserved for online booking, sources said. The remaining permits will be reserved for on-the-spot booking which will be issued at the 'interpretation zone' in Sasan.

However, in Devaliya interpretation zone, there will be no such cap on permits as all tourists are permitted to go inside, sources said. In Devaliya there is no restriction on the number of visitors and hence a person will be able to get as many permits as he wants. Further, when the total number of permits is increased, it will be simultaneously increased for online customers, officials said.

Once a payment is made online, a virtual receipt will appear on the computer and the visitor can a take a printout of this receipt. When he comes to Sasan, the visitor just has to show the printout and a route would be allotted to him, officials of the forest department said.

Earlier, the department had introduced a facility to make a visit to Gir easy. The department had introduced a 'turn system' for taxi drivers and even guides. This had saved tourists unnecessary negotiation and the harassment of being chased by tour operators. Also identity cards and dresses were given to taxi drivers and guides for easy identification.

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