Odisha Channel Bureau
Bhubaneswar: Satkosia Sands Resort at Badmul an Ecotourism project in Satkosia Tiger Reserve has earned revenue of Rs. 1 crore by second week of February this year.
The ecotourism project started in the year 2016 with three tented accommodations on the sandbar of river Mahanadi with an investment of Rs. 2 lakh only with engagement of six villagers and by 2019 the project stands with 19 accommodations and annual income of Rs.1 crore with 34 villagers directly drawing employment from it.
This project is also the indirect source of livelihood for 7 to 8 sanctuary villages as they provide milk, rice, dal, vegetables, non-veg articles, and travels to the project on daily basis. By the end of financial year 2018-19 the visitor number was 4450 with revenue of Rs.1.3 crore, and this year repeating the success story the revenue by February, 2020 has already reached Rs. 1 crore with more than 4500 visitors.
The locals engaged in this project have been trained and they work in different capacity – Manager, cook, service, receptionist, eco-guide, boatman etc. Most of the locals engaged are women.
Different programmes like “Know your Birds”, “Poacher turned Protectors”, and “Walk in the Jungle” are run by the community in the Nature Camp.
The destination was the first ever Ecotourism project in Nayagarh district and now it is one of the successful model of Ecotourism in State. Boating in Satkosia Gorge, birding, trekking, sports, library, canopy walk, bathing ghat in river for tourists, farm visits etc are the activities offered to tourists in the destination. Local villagers engaged in the project work as Eco Guides. All villagers of village Muduligadia are engaged in managing the nature camp and they are its stakeholders.
This project also takes the pride to have States first Canopy Walk & have transformed their village to Eco-Village. By using the 10% EDC- share of the revenue earned this year they have transformed their village into Eco- Village. Due to the Ecotourism project all households have been employed through Ecotourism and there has been improvement in their life style.
All the households are using LPG gas now instead of firewood, all households have good toilets with water connectivity and village is free from open defecation, 12 common dustbins have been put throughout the village, plastic free environment & all houses have been repaired with beautiful wall paintings for attracting tourists to their village.
Badmul Ecotourism project started after launching of the 5 Year Scheme on Ecotourism by Forest Department in 2016.
The destination has turned to become the favoured destination for birders, photographers, nature lovers, conservationists and also a destination for adventure lovers and family trips. Cycling on the forest roads all along the River Mahanadi & Boating in Satkosia Gorge are the favourite thrills for tourists visiting this place. It is an ideal place for cultural tourism & rural tourism too.
States Revenue while inception of Community Managed Ecotourism Projects in Odisha since 2016 has increased considerably and satisfactorily – from Rs. 47 lakh with 1900 visitors during 2016 to Rs.5.6 crore by 2019 with 20,000 visitors. Having a common booking portal ecotourodisha.com & 24 hrs functioning Ecotourism Cell to assist the tourists has also made booking facility hassle free and visitor friendly. During the year 2019-20 Barehipani Nature Camp overlooking the Waterfall in Similipal has also become very popular among tourists in few months itself.
“Our objective is to provide good experience to all visitors coming to ecotourism destinations in Odisha and also I have observed increase in self confidence of community members specially women due to increase in their income from Ecotourism. From Badmul project each family last year have earned around 2 lakh per month. For increasing flow of tourists, Wildlife wing has also started dedicated trekking programme throughout the State like “Ecotrails Odisha” and training of villagers on natural history of flora, fauna, culture & proper hospitality,” says PCCF Wildlife H.S Upadhaya.
DCF Ecotourism, Anshu Pragyan Das says that like Badmul Ecotourism, other ecotourism destinations which have become the backbone for livelihood support of rural communities are Nature Camps in Similipal which has also generated revenue of Rs.1 crore.7 lakhs till date this year which is more than last year revenue.
Debrigarh Ecotourism too has earned around 75 lakhs till date against last year’s income of 49.88 lakh. Daringbadi has almost earned double than last year’s income and this year it is- Rs.55 lakhs till date. Bhitarkanika stands at Rs. 70 lakh. Introduction of Jungle Safari in Debrigarh & Chandaka has online booking facility has made both these destinations hub for youngsters and travelers, adds Das.