The Centre has identified four protected areas (PA) in Odisha where eco-tourism can be developed. The places are Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Chilika (Nalaban) Wildlife Sanctuary, Gahirmatha (Marine) Wildlife Sanctuary and Nandankanan Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) that had earmarked the notified forest areas for development of eco-tourism sites as per its guidelines on Sustainable Eco-tourism in Forest and Wildlife Areas 2021, reportedly approved the plan on June 11 this year. The Ministry has identified 90 such sites across the country.
As per the guidelines, the State governments are required to formulate an effective communication plan with the help of expert organisations for effective use of eco-tourism potential of areas identified. The plan, among other relevant information, will include information for tourists on eco-system services and intangible benefits provided by the area.
The communication plan will include measures to promote partnerships between the eco-tourism project and socially responsible companies.
The use of modern technologies such as electronic visual tools and a well-equipped modern interpretation centre at the eco-tourism site will be encouraged through the plan to encourage self-learning by visitors. The plan will also lay emphasis on appropriate signages for generating awareness among visitors regarding safety and risk factors in the eco-tourism zone and safety protocol and information material on the area for the visitors.
The Ministry stated that the move will help in promoting community-based tourism as a preferred form of eco-tourism and create new employment opportunities.
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