BHUBANESWAR: Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the ecotour nature camps in the State managed by the Forest and Environment department are witnessing an encouraging inflow of tourists.PCCF (Wildlife) HS Upadhyay said initially 10 nature camps were opened on October 1 and the number was subsequently increased to 30. By mid-December, Rs 3.5 crore revenue has been generated with more than 12,000 visitors staying overnight in these properties, he said.
According to reports, footfall in nature camps at Similipal, Badmul (Satkosia), Debrigarh, Daringbadi, Mandasaru and Chilika has gone up this year as more than 1,000 visitors have already made night stay in each of these nature camps and the per day booking also remained high compared to last year. Four new nature camps at Barehipani, Chandipur, Chitrakonda and Satiguda have been opened for tourists this year.
While Barehipani nature camp nearby the Barehipani waterfall has already recorded a footfall of more than 700 tourists, Chandipur camp generated over Rs 2 lakh revenue in the last one month. Most of the tourists who visited these camps so far are from within the State.
In view of the Covid-19 crisis, the Forest department has kept the prices of nature camps the same as it was last year. Food and day-long activities continue to be a part of room rent and to attract more tourists, Odia cuisine and local dishes have been added to the menu of all the nature camps.
Of the 30 camps, boating facility is available in 20. In Similipal, an added attraction is jungle safari under which two safari vehicles are engaged for visit to waterfalls at Barehipani, Joranda and Uski and a trip to the dense forest of Chahala.
DCF (Eco-tourism) Anshu Pragyan Das said tourists are accompanied by local eco-guides to minimise disturbance to wild animals during the jungle safari and hiking. She said plans are afoot to introduce adventure sports in these nature camps before March.
The nature camps had remained closed from April to October due Covid outbreak and sustained revenue loss in crores during this period as more than 20,000 tourists had visited these camps in the corresponding period last year fetching revenue of around Rs 4.2 crore.