Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has directed the Tourism and the Forest department to prepare a 'Home-Stay policy' near identified wildlife sanctuaries and eco-destinations, officials said.
In the meeting of the Eco-Tourism Board on Wednesday, chief secretary AK Tripathy said eco-tourism would be developed along professional lines through the creation of market demand and private sector linkages.
Tripathy directed the departments of Tourism and Forest and Environment to work out a 'Home-Stay policy' near identified wildlife sanctuaries and eco-destinations like Similipal, Bhitarakanika, Chilika, Daringibadi, Satakosia and others.
The chief secretary told the two departments to popularise 'Odisha destinations' among different travel and tour operators in the world market.
Development Commissioner S C Mohapatra, who attended the meeting suggested to scale up at least 10 destinations of Odisha to next level of eco-tourism.
The meeting also decided to further develop the eco- sites with facilities like sports, trekking, wildlife watching, cycling, boating, jungle safari, photography, canopy walk and farm visits activities.
"Such facilities would be created under joint collaboration of government and private players," Mohapatra said.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wild Life) Hari Sankar Upadhaya said that till the date 40 eco-tourist destinations had been developed and made open to the visitors in different parts of the state.
Around 298 tent and rooms with the capacity of accommodating around 800 persons per day had been put into the services of the visitors, he said.
Upadhaya said at present around 1,000 local people including both men and women are getting additional livelihood support from the activities like hospitality, home keeping, care, conservation and other ancillary activities in these spots.
An official said the eco-tourism website www.ecotourodisha.com is often visited by nature lovers from different parts of the globe.
The website has received 11,52,091 'Hits' from April 2016 till the date, the official said, adding that the concept of eco-tourism is new to the state but is getting good response from tourists leading to revenue generation.