Odisha is the land of forests, mountains, waterfalls, valleys, high peaks, and, gorges, and its magnificent wildlife is found in natural habitats. Elephants, Tigers, Crocodile, Leopards, Spotted Deer, Hyena, Sambar, Wild Boar, Giant Squirrel, Hornbills, Jungle Cats, and a lot of migratory birds are the main wildlife of Odisha. Nowadays, the state government is taking initiatives to promote eco-tourism. It not only helps nature tourists to experience natural landscapes continually by doing camping, trekking, sightseeing, boating, birding etc but also conserves the environment and does the welfare of local people. Additionally, it intends to maintain Forest & Wildlife conservation by offering alternative employment to Forest dependent communities in State.
The State Government of Odisha has approved the Ecotourism Policy 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 continuous development and promotion.
Eco-Tourism: Spots & Amenities for tourists
There are wonderful places outside the protected areas in some Districts which have been developed to attract tourists. These places include Nrusinghnath in Baragarh, Anjar in Keonjhar, Manchabandha in Mayhurbhanj, Sidhamula in Nayagarh, Ansupa in Cuttack, Mahavinayak & Olasuni in Jajpur, Pakidi hill, Saluapali & Lalsing in Ganjam, Dhaltangarh in Jagatasinghpur and Saptasajya in Dhenkanal where tourists can get minimal camping, trekking and nature exploration. Moreover, the tourism dept. of government of Odisha has tried to generate employment opportunities for the local communities residing in and around the areas. These people will maintain the facilities like nature trails, watchtowers, interpretation centres etc.
The state government of Odisha is working towards the construction of new infrastructure, renovation and maintenance of present facilities. Currently, tourists can do online booking and can get night stay accommodation in these places.
On 14th December 2019, Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha inaugurated the first Marine Drive Eco-Retreat on Ramchandi beach to increase the global appeal of Odisha’s major tourist destinations.
According to Minister for Tourism and Culture Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Puri-Konark marine drive was mainly a day tourism destination. But, govt of Odisha’s mission is to convert this destination into a beach holiday centre of global standards.
“The government has very aggressively promoted water Sports and recreation tourism in recent times. We are laying special policy focus on niche Tourism segments such as Houseboat tourism, which seamlessly mingles with ecotourism and water recreation,” told Vishal K. Dev, Commissioner-cum-secretary for Tourism, Government of Odisha. He added, “Odisha has a habit of creating benchmarks and workable models for sustainable enterprise. In this case too, we shall jointly strive to synergise the various segments of water based Tourism as a sustainable segment.”