To promote the concept of eco-tourism in the state, Odisha Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra approved 13 new Eco-Tourism places and nature camps.
Considering tourist-attracting potential of the proposals, Chief Secretary Mahapatra approved 10 new spots for development of eco-retreats with night stay facilities, and 3 new spots for development as nature-camp for the day tourists, an official said.
Chief Secretary Mahapatra said, “Conservation of forest and nature is turning a sustainable treasure for the community, and promote that by all possible means”. He also advised to strengthen the intervention through formation of Eco-Tourism Society.
Chief Secretary directed the department to involve local communities in hospitality and upkeep of the spots so that they earn their livelihood and preserve natural environs of the spots.
The new sites for setting up eco cottages approved in the meeting included Deomali hill top in Koraput, Jakam of Kalahandi, Nawana of Similipal north, Silviculture garden of Phulbani, Muhana Muhana at Astaranga in Puri, Kotia in Koraput, Khadakhai dam in Rairangpur, Mahendragiri from Ganjam side in Berhampur, Kanjipani Ghat and Hadagarh dam in Keonjhar forest divisions.
PCCF Wild Life Sashi Paul appraised that as of now 50 total eco-retreat destinations and nature camps are operating the State. With these 13 new approvals, the total number of spots would increase to 63. These spots are growing popular with increasing footfalls and revenue generation. Online booking facility has also been rolled out. So far, around ₹95 cr have been invested in development of the eco-destinations.
The review showed a constant increase in number of footfalls at the eco-destinations. It increased almost by 142 per cent in last 5 years. It increased from 11,500 in the year 2017-18 to 29,024 in the year 2018-19, and then to 57,000 in the year 2020-21.
The year 2021-22 witnessed the surge in footfall to 70,216. Concomitantly, the revenue generated from eco-tourism increased from ₹3.40 cr in 2017-18 to ₹8.32 cr in 2020-21 and then to ₹10.52 cr in 2021-22.
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