13 new eco-tourism retreats and nature camps are being set up to boost eco-tourism in Odisha. The Chief Secretary, Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, recently approved the decision. Out of the new spots allotted, 10 new spots are reserved for the development of eco-retreats which will include night-stay facilities and three new spots will be converted into nature-camps for day tourists.
As per media reports, the eco-retreats will be include 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.
Nature camps for day tourists will be developed in three places – Rani Duduma in Koraput, Dhaltangarh in Cuttack, and Bhandarpahar near Jhadeswari Temple of Nayagarh.
The Chief Secretary aims to strengthen the intervention via the formation of the Eco-Tourism Society. He also plans to provide employment opportunities to local communities to boost hospitality and take care of the natural spots. This, in turn, will not only help to preserve nature, but will also provide a means for them to earn a living.
According to media reports, as many as 50 eco-retreats and nature camps are operational in the state, said PCCF (wildlife) Sashi Paul. With the addition of new eco-retreats and nature camps, the number will increase to 63.
He mentioned that eco-retreats are gaining popularity and are also generating revenues. As of now, around INR 95 crore has been invested in the development of nature camps and retreats. One can book a slot via an online booking facility.
If numbers are taken into account for the last five years, the number of footfalls at the eco-destination has increased by almost 142 per cent. The revenue generated via these eco-destinations has also seen a surge. From Rs 3.40 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 8.32 crore in 2020–21 to Rs 10.52 crore in 2021–22, the revenue increased.