Wildlife tourism is a growing phenomenon, particularly in emerging economies such as India. Purported benefits of this growth in tourism include greater tourist interest in, and support for, conservation. We examined the interest, awareness and potential for this support in three prominent Indian national parks, Nagarahole, Kanha and Ranthambore. Park records indicate that most tourists (71%) are Indian nationals. Our surveys of 436 Indian tourists indicate that many were on their first visit to the park (71%) and are well educated (82% with bachelor and master degrees). Most tourists (88%) visited for <1 week and spent <USD 600 on their visit. The main reasons for visiting parks were opportunities to see nature, tigers Panthera tigris and scenic beauty. Seventy-one percent of tourists indicated they are likely or somewhat likely to return to the parks but only 34% would be willing to visit the parks if tigers are absent. Forty-two percent indicated willingness to pay higher gate fees. Surprisingly, those spending less on their trip were more willing to pay higher fees than those spending more. Sixty-five percent believed that local people benefit from the park, whereas in reality local benefits are few. Our results indicate the potential for the growth of domestic wildlife tourism and support for conservation among tourists but highlight the need for increasing education and awareness on the difficult realities of conservation in India.