Bhubaneswar, Jan 27:
In a bid to boost the eco-tourism sector, the Odisha government is to invest Rs.100 crore to develop eco-tourism spots in the state.
The government also decided to put in place a centralised online system for advance booking of accommodations at eco-tourist spots.
The decisions were taken in a high-level meeting held under the chairmanship of chief secretary Aditya Parsad Padhi here on Wednesday.
Forest and Environment secretary Suresh Mohapatra said as of now 20 eco-tourism sites have been taken up and 40 new destinations have been identified for development.
The target has been set to develop all these spots within a period of five years, with investment of around Rs.100 crore from state government funding. The accommodation facilities for 15 to 20 families will be developed at each major spot, he added.
It was also decided that a centralised online system for booking of accommodation at eco-tourist places would be developed and put in place within two months.
Padhi directed the Forest and Environment department to develop suitable facilities in the existing eco-tourism spots before taking up new spots for development.
He also focused on development of basic amenities and apposite waste disposal system at the spots.
The chief secretary 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.
Available data shows, there has been a constant increase in tourist footfall in eco-tourism spots over last three years.
In 2012-13, the total footfall in eco-tourism spots was 2,76,206 which increased to 3,12,980 in 2013-14 and further to 3,47,965 in 2014-15.
This year, there is an increasing trend in the rate of footfall and it is expected to cross the last year’s statistics, said sources. (IANS)