Bhubaneswar: With nature tourism catching the interest of domestic tourists, the state government is planning to cover more areas in Odisha under it.
Reviewing the nature tourism in the state at a high level meeting here on Friday, Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra directed the departments of tourism, forest and environment and water resources to identify more locations for enhancing nature tourism activities.
He told the district collectors to focus on the locations for setting up round-the- year eco-retreat sites, nature camps, day destinations, river cruise, boating, jungle safari, wildlife sighting towers.
“Nature tourism is no more an 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 local populace and will help enhancing their income,” he said.
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 as tourist destinations.
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.
It was decided that the diesel motor boats 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.
Principal Secretary Water Resources Anu Garg, Chief Executive Officer Chilika Development Authority Susanta Kumar Nanda, Director Tourism Sachin Ramchandra Jadav, Puri Collector Samarth Verma and senior officers from concerned departments participated in the deliberations.