Nature Camps in Odisha Regain Popularity Post COVID-19 Crisis
A decline in COVID-19 cases in the second half of last year has coincided with the increasing popularity of Odisha’s nature and eco-tourism camps. The state’s nature camps have already recorded a footfall of over 55,000, surpassing the total revenue earned in the previous year.
The eco-tourism projects that provide a livelihood to hundreds of forest dwellers across Odisha had remained shut for seven months due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. They were reopened in a phased manner starting November 2020.
Within five months of reopening, the tourist footfall at these destinations has surpassed the 55,000 mark. The nature camps have generated a revenue of Rs 8 crore till mid-March, surpassing the collection of Rs 6.85 crore recorded in 2019-20.
As per officials from the Forest department, visitors from 22 different states have opted to stay at various ecotour properties across the State.
The officials went on to elaborate that proper implementation of COVID-19 safety guidelines, training and capacity building of local communities on protocols and hospitality services played a major role in this success.
“More than 600 community members are deriving livelihood support by managing these destinations,” said the officials.
Odisha started a community model of eco-tourism in 2016. Currently, the State has 43 eco-tourism destinations located across 16 districts. Five new destinations are expected to be operational soon in Nuapada and Koraput.