Govt to rope in communities to boost eco-tourism

Bhubaneswar: In an effort to promote and popularise eco-tourism in Odisha, the state government has come up with an idea to involve communities in a proposed Master Plan.

A decision to this effect was taken in a high level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Gokul Chandra Pati here at the secretariat today.

While reviewing the progress of eco-tourism in the state, Pati directed the officials to workout a Master Plan for promotion and development of ecotourism destinations involving the community, tour operators and other stake holders.

“Wild life conservation and eco-tourism can be integrated through active participation of the community. Wild life can more effectively conserved when the local community feels a stake in it by way of earning livelihood from eco tourism,” Pati said.

To work out the details of the Master Plan, a committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Development Commissioner UN Behera with Tourism and Forest Department on board.

It has been decided in the meeting that the boats carrying the tourists for site seeing in eco-tourist destinations will be registered and insured. The boat owners will be mobilized to install GPS tracking devices in their boats for better guidance and security.

The annual Action Plan of Rs. 4.37 cr for the year 2015-16 which includes activities like preparation of destination specific flyers and instruction guides, organization of travel agent meets, creative content development, preparation of audio visuals, hoardings and signages etc. was approved in the meeting.