Eco Retreat Camps in Odisha to be Bigger, Better this Winter

At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the tourism sector into crisis, the Odisha government is planning to bring back Eco Retreat camps this winter. This time around, the Department of Tourism is planning to organize the camping project in five different locations – Konark (Ramchandi beach), Satkosia (Badmul Sandbar), Bhitarkanika (Nalitapatia), Daringibadi, and Hirakund.

The tourism director has already put out a request for proposals from various agencies organising such events through the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) mode. The camps are likely to be set up for three months at each location, tentatively from December 2020 to February 2021. At the sites, there will be arrangements for conducting various activities like guided tours on electric bicycles, shooting, archery, parasailing, among others.

Meanwhile, the tourism department took to social media last week to conduct a short survey asking people’s opinion regarding the retreat’s comeback. “Odisha Tourism’s Marine Drive, Eco Retreat, a benchmark in India’s glamping scene, plans to be back from hibernation across diverse locations – beach, hill station, forest, etc. while ensuring tourist safety and hygiene protocols. Please let us know your preference”, the social media post read.

The survey results were quite promising, 66.1 percent of respondents believed it was a great initiative. While 10.7 percent were willing to come with a companion, 3.6 percent wanted to go solo for safety. Around 19. 6 percent felt they should wait for the pandemic to subside. The total number of respondents was 168.

It has been revealed that safety protocols regarding COVID-19 would be the top priority at these camps. In the ROP (request for proposal), the tourism department has asked the agencies to make provisions for a medical facility.

“To attend to any critical situation, the operator shall provide for an emergency vehicle, doctor facility, isolation room, rapid testing facilities and also ensure an operational tie-up with a hospital in the vicinity of the project site”, read a statement in the notice.

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