Odisha okays action plan to develop 30 ecotourism spots

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government today approved an action plan to develop 30 places in the state as ecotourism destinations.

The action plan was approved in the ecotourism board meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary A P Padhi. He directed the department of forest and environment to plan the projects on self-sustaining mode.

Padhi also asked the department to create more employment opportunities for local youths through these projects.

“It was decided to keep the nature tourism spots open throughout the year. The Chief Secretary has suggested the department to publicise the spots through tour operators, tour websites and hoteliers in national and international forums,” Forest and Environment Secretary S C Mohapatra said.

These 30 places include Mangalajodi and Berhampura under Chilika wild life (WL) division, Barakhandia and Dhodrokusum under Hirakud WL division, Kumari and Jamuani under Baripada WL division.

It was also decided that a master plan for comprehensive development of these spots will be prepared, Mohapatra said.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Sidhant Das said the booking for nature-tourism at these places can be made online through the portal www.ecotourodisha.com.

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“So far around 1,200 people have booked their visit through this site. This portal has also been integrated with billing and payment gateway along with SMS and e-mail information system,” Das said.Around 27 youths have been trained on hospitality and housekeeping at the Institute of Hotel Management and Nutrition for providing services at the ecotourism spots, he said.