Eco-Tourism is defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." (TIES, 1990). Ecotourism or “Community Managed Nature Tourism in Odisha” aims to support Forest & Wildlife conservation by providing alternative livelihood to Forest dependent communities in State.
Principles of Ecotourism:
Eco-tourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. It means those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the below principles:
- Minimize impact.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
- Raise sensitivity to host states political, environmental, and social climate.
For getting accomodation in Eco tourism sites please log on to Odisha Forest Development Corporation website https://www.ecotourodisha.com.
Eco Tourism Policy
The State Government have approved the Ecotourism Policy and the Forest Department has been declared as the Nodal Agency for development of ecotourism in the state. The Scheme named as “Development of Eco-tourism” has been approved by the Government with financial implication of Rs.56.00 crore for a period of five years from the financial year 2016-17 to 2020-21 for its sustainable development and promotion.At present, the scheme is being operated by the Wildlife Wing of the State.
Eco Tourism Destinations & Facilities for tourists
However, the scheme was previously being implemented under state plan. The excellent spots outside the protected areas, in certain Districts such as Anjar in Keonjhar, Sidhamula in Nayagarh, Ansupa in Cuttack, Mahavinayak&Olasuni in Jajpur, Nrusinghnath in Baragarh, Pakidi hill, Saluapali&Lalsing in Ganjam, Manchabandha in Mayhurbhanj, Dhaltangarh in Jagatasinghpur and Saptasajya in Dhenkanal have been developed with providing facilities for minimal camping, trekking and nature exploration to attract nature lovers. Besides, employment opportunities have also been created by engaging local communities living in and around the areas for maintaining the facilities like nature trails, watch towers, interpretation centres.
Implementation Status during 2019-20
During 2019-20 development of ecotourism activities i.e. creation of new infrastructure, renovation and maintenance of existing facilities and other amenities have been undertaken in 41 different locations across the State with financial assistance from State Budget and OEMF. At present the facility for night stay accommodation is available in 41 sites with 300 rooms to accommodate 627 persons. 453 number of EDC/VSS members have been engaged for livelihood support. Now the online booking facility is available for the above destinations through www.ecotourodisha.com. This facility was available with effect from 01.04.2016. During the current financial year till 18.02.2020, Rs 4,73,16,326 /- has been realised from 20,349 number of tourists.