With encouraging results from eco-retreat interventions in the post-lockdown scenario, Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra directed the Departments of Tourism, Forest and Environment and Water Resources to identify more locations for enhancing nature tourism activities in the State.
Mahapatra directed the collectors to identify locations for setting up year-round eco-retreat sites, nature camps, day destinations, river cruise, boating, jungle safari, and wildlife sighting-seeing. “Selection of the appropriate site for nature tourism is very crucial for taking it to next level.”
Principal Secretary Tourism Vishal Dev and Chairman & Managing Director IDCO Sanjay Kumar Singh were advised to verify the identified locations and evaluate their potential for development to year-round tourist destinations.
“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 such activities at Talasari, Konark, Satpada, Chandipur, Debrigarh, Bhitarkanita, Similipal, Daringibadi, Astarang, Satkosia gorge, Tikarpada, Hirakud, Chilika and Nalabana were discussed in the meeting.
Chief Secretary 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. The Collectors were also asked to identify suitable locations near major tourist destinations for development of tourist stay and convenience project sites by IDCO.
It was decided that the diesel motorboats engaged in tourist sites would be converted to CNG mode. Additional Chief Secretary Forest & Environment Dr Mona Sharma was 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.
Among others, Principal Secretary Water Resources Anu Garg, Chief Executive Officer Chilika Development Authority Susanta Kumar Nanda, Director Tourism Sachin Ramchandra Jadav, Collector Puri Samarth Verma and senior officials were present at the meeting.