The Odisha government has asked the departments of tourism, forest and environment and water resources to identify more locations of eco-retreat interventions for enhancing nature tourism activities in the state.
Reviewing the present state and future prospects of nature tourism in the State at a high-level meeting on Thursday, Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra directed the collectors to identify locations for setting up year-round eco-retreat sites, nature camps, day destinations, river cruise, boating, jungle safari, wildlife sighting towers in their districts.
Mohapatra said “Nature tourism is no more international tourist activity. Now more domestic tourists are visiting the nature camps in Odisha. Eco-locations, nature sites and nature camps will generate more employment opportunities for the local populace and will help to enhance their income”.
The proposals regarding scaling up eco-tourism activities at Talasari, Konark, Satpada, Chandipur, Debrigarh, Bhitarkanita, Similipal, Daringibadi, Astarang, Satkosia gorge, Tikarpada, Hirakud, Chilika and Nalabana in Odisha were discussed in the meeting.
Chief Secretary also directed to demarcate tourism zones in forest areas, list out the dams, river stretches and water bodies having good potential for boating, water boats, cruises and placement of houseboats.
It was decided that the diesel motorboats engaged in tourist sites would be converted to CNG mode.
Additional Chief Secretary Forest and Environment Dr Mona Sharma, present in the meeting were advised to start nature camps in thirty to forty new locations during the year. It was also decided to invite more private sector investment for making nature tourism activity more competitive and employment generating.