Aiming to strengthen tourism across the state, the Odisha government on Friday, August 26, 2022 approved 10 new spots for development of eco-retreats with night-stay provisions, and three spots for development as nature-camps for travellers visiting the state.
Approximately, a total of 50 eco-retreat destinations and nature-camps currently exist within the state. Most of the tourists are heading towards Puri-Konark and Bhubaneswar circuit popularly known as ‘golden triangle’. “We would provide the tourists another opportunity to explore Odisha. Now, the conservation of forest and nature is turning into a sustainable treasure for the community,” as stated by the officials.
It is believed that the local communities will be roped in to provide hospitality to the tourists. They will be encouraged to maintain the spots so that they could earn their livelihood and preserve the natural environs of the spots.
While commending the proposals of the new eco-retreats, Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, Chief Secretary of the state, asserted, “As envisioned by the Odisha government, eco-tourism has made strides with opening of new livelihood opportunities in the respective local communities. Conservation of forest and nature is turning into a sustainable treasure for the community, and we should promote that by all possible means.”
The newly approved eco-retreats by the state included- Deomali hill top in Koraput, Jakam of Kalahandi, Nawana of Similipal north in Mayurbhanj, Silviculture garden of Phulbani, 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.
Besides, new nature-camps for day tourists would be developed at Rani Duduma of Koraput, Dhaltangarh of Cuttack, and Bhandarpahar near Jhadeswari Temple of Nayagarh forest divisions. These places carry a high level of potential in attracting tourists from across the nation and the world.
Under the given instructions, the concerned Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) and supervising officers would be assigned with the job to ensure that each cottage is properly functioning and all facilities including the dining places, toilets etc are available. It has also been decided to strengthen the hospitality sector through the formation of Eco-Tourism Society.
Principal Chief Conservator of forest (wild life) Sashi Paul said, “As of now 50 total eco-retreat destinations and nature camps are operating in 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 INR 95 crore have been invested in development of the eco-destinations,” Paul affirmed.
Review showed a constant increase in the number of footfalls at the eco-destinations. “It increased almost by 142 per cent in the last 5 years….,” as cited within a press release issued by the Chief Secretary’s office.
Besides, the Additional chief secretary forest, environment and climate change Satyabrata Sahu along with the senior officers of concerned departments were also seen actively engaged in the high-level meeting.