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On Offing: Online Booking for Accommodation at Eco-Tourist Spots in Odisha

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In another boost for eco-tourism, Govt have decided to put in place a centralized online system for advance booking of accommodations at eco-tourist spots.  This has been decided in a high level meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sri Aditya Parsad Padhi in Secretariat conference hall today wherein Principal Secretary Forest & Environment Sri Suresh Chandra Mohapatra outlined the issues for discussion.

Reviewing the progress made in this sector, Chief Secretary directed the Forest & Environment Department to develop suitable facilities in the existing eco-tourist spots before taking up new spots for development. Sri Padhi has focused on development of basic amenities and apposite waste disposal system at the spots.

It has been decided that a centralized online system for booking of accommodation at eco-tourist places will be developed and put in place within 2 months. Chief Secretary has also directed to ensure active involvement of local committees in preservation and promotional activities so that people get alternative means of livelihood from the tourism activities. It has been decided to develop these identified tourist spots with State Govt funding.

Replying to a media quarry after the meeting, Principal Secretary Sri Mohapatra said that as of now 20 eco-tourism sites have been taken up and 40 new destinations have been identified for development. Target has been set to develop all these spots within a period of 5 years with investment of around Rs.100 cr. from State Govt funding. The accommodation facilities for 15 to 20 families will be developed in each major spot.

Available data shows, there has been constant increase in tourist footfall in eco-tourist spots over last three years. In the year the total footfall in eco-tourist spots was 2,76,206 which increased to 3,12,980 in the year 2014-15 and further to 3,47,965 in the year 2014-15. This year there is an increasing trend in the rate of footfall and is expected to cross the last year.

The existing sites already taken up for development include Dangmal, Habalikhati, Gupti, Barunei & Kalibhanjdia of Rajnagar Wild Life ( WL) division; Bramhapura, Rajhans, Balugaon & Mangalajodi of Chilika WL division; Barehipani, Joranda, Sitakund, Lulung etc of Similipal Tiger Reserve, Tikarpada, Binikei and adjacent spots in Satkosia WL, Barakhandia of Hirakud WL; Kuldiha & Bichitrapur of Balasore WL; Maraguda of Sunabedha WL; Deras, Godibari & Jhumuka of Chandaka WL; Balichandi, Ramchandi, Nuanai etc of Puri WL; Badmul of Mahanadi WL;  Gadchandi & Zero point in Hadgarh Wild Life ( WL) sanctuary, Mahavinayak, Olasuni & Dhaltangarh of Cuttack forest division, Manchabandha , Devkundu, Samibrikhya & Machkandana of Baripada division, Jamunai of Rairangpur division within Similipal Tiger Reserve, Saptasjya of Dhenkanal and Gandahati & Khasada water fall in Lakhary Valley sanctuary of Paralakhemundi forest division.  Apart from these,  new 40 spots have been identified in these forest and wild life divisions.

The Principal Secretary Tourism Sri Gagan Kumar Dhala, Prncipal Chief Conservator of Forests Sri J.D. Sharma along with senior officers from OSDF, Tourism and Forest & Environment Develoment department participated in deliberations.

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