Bhubaneswar: Odisha has turned out to be major Eco Tourism Destination with 47 Eco Tourism Centers were developed and operationalized in different areas spreading across 18 revenue districts of Odisha.
The activity added to the income of many tribal families in the districts of Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Malkangiri, Kandhamal, Bargarh, Nayagarh and Koraput.
More than 600 people got good income from the activities and this year the new spots were developed and operationalized at Nrusinghnath, Koraput pine forest, Patora dam and Tensa.
Under the Community Based Management (CBM) model around 90 Percent of the revenue generated from the eco-spots was shared with members of the respective communities managing the spots.
Review showed a constant increase in number of visitors to the eco-destinations.
It increased from 11,500 in the year 2016-17 to 29,024 in the year 2018-19 and further to around 57,000 in the year 2020-21.
This included the tourists from different States of India and countries abroad.
The eco-tourism website showed around 22.82 lakh hits from 30 countries of the world. Tourists from 18 countries including France, Germany, Iran, Australia, Netherland, Belgium and South Africa visited the eco-spots with night halts.
Similarly, the revenue generated from eco-tourism increased from Rs. 1.57 in the fiscal year 2016-17 to Rs.3.40 cr in 2017-18 and Rs.5.61 cr in 2018-19. In the year 2020-21 the revue generation further grew to Rs. 8.32 cr. The current year also showed a rising trend in different spots.
Eco-Tourism operation through Community Based Management (CBM) model rolled out by Government of Odisha in 2016 has proved quite successful.
The eco-spots in Odisha have attracted both the domestic and international tourists recording a manifold increase in the number of footfall and revenue generation, thereby adding to the livelihood sources of the local community.
This was known from a high level meeting held on digital mode under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra.
Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Forest Environment and Climate Change Mona Sharma said “Eco-retreat activities started by Government have invoked private investment in the sector. The hospitality centers and hotels have come up near Daringibadi and Konark. Some investors have also expressed interest in starting private ventures in other spots like Deomali”. Chief Secretary asked IDCO to acquire non-forest land near popular eco-tourism centers and develop those for setting up the tourism and hospitality units.
The proposals for developing new eco-spots with night stay facilities at Deomali, Karlapat and Nawana were approved in the meeting. Chief Secretary directed the department to release funds immediately for development of the spots.