Bhubaneswar, August 26: The Odisha Government on Friday decided to develop 13 new places as new eco-tourism and nature camps in the State. With this, the number of such facilities will increase to 63.
Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra reviewed the current status of the existing eco-destinations through virtual mode and approved 10 new spots for development of eco-retreats with night stay facilities and three new spots for development of as nature-camp for the day tourists.
The new eco-retreats 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 Koraout, Khadakhai dam in Rairangpur, Mahendragiri from Ganjam side in Berhampur, Kanjipani Ghat and Hadagarh dam in Keonjhar forest divisions. Similarly, new nature camps for the day tourists would be developed at Rani Duduma of Koraput, Dhaltangarh of Cuttack, and Bhandarpahar near Jhadeswari Temple of Nayagarh forest divisions.
PCCF (Wildlife) Sashi Paul informed that as of now total 50 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 Rs 95 crore have been invested in development of the eco-destinations,” said Paul.
Review showed a constant increase in number of footfalls at the eco-destinations. It increased almost by 142 percent in last five 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.
The revenue generated from eco-tourism increased from Rs 3.40 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 8.32 crore in 2020-21 and then to Rs 10.52 crore in 2021-22.
Additional Chief Secretary (Forest, Environment and Climate Change) Satyabrata Sahu was present in the meeting.