Eco-tourism in Odisha set to Capitalize on post-COVID Normal
Odisha Tourism has partnered with the wildlife wing of Odisha’s Forest and Environment department to promote sustainable eco-tourism in the state post-COVID. They will be training the community members such that eco-tourism sites can start operating soon.
All the 40 eco-tourism destinations in the state are undergoing the training. The beach resorts, nature camps, and hill stations are located in different tribal areas. Meanwhile, the forest divisions have more than 300 rooms managed by around 600 community members. Out of these, 60 per cent are rural women.
The on-site training will enable community members, who manage the sites, to be familiarised with safety protocols and best practices. They will be asked to adhere to all the COVID guidelines such as social distancing, usage of face masks, and other protocols as directed by the Government.
“In our mission to revive tourism and hospitality, we will ensure that Odisha is one of the safest destinations to explore”, said Sachin Ramchandra Jadhav, Director of Tourism. He added that the training programmes are being conducted by experts associated with IITTM and IHM.
“We are trying to set a benchmark in COVID management in the country. Our primary objective is to restrict the further transmission of the Covid-19 when our nature camps open without compromising the service we have been providing to the visitors at the eco-tourism destinations,” said PCCF (Wildlife) HS Upadhyay. All the nature camps will be equipped with sanitisation equipment and safeguards when they reopen after the situation improves.
Much before the pandemic, reservation with eco-tourism sites has been contactless as the Wildlife Wing went online since 2016. “Cash booking or on-spot booking is very minimal and restricted to off-season only. Besides, the entry tickets are sold online”, said Anshu Pragyan Das, the Deputy Conservator of Forest (Ecotourism).
Meanwhile, more eco-tourism destinations are coming up in Nuapada, Koraput, and Sundargarh.