Bhubaneswar, Feb 25 (FN Representative) Odisha Tourism was conferred with the Silver Award for “Best Future Forward State” at the sixth edition of the Indian Responsible Tourism Awards Kerala won the Gold category award in the same segment. The awards recognise champions of ethical travel as a regional partner of the reputed World Travel Market’s (WTM) Responsible Tourism Awards held in London. The award was presented at a function yesterday, organised for the first time outside the National Capital Territory of Delhi, at Eco Retreat Odisha in Konark. “Odisha’s contribution to promoting responsible tourism is well established.
The ecotourism model of community-managed nature camps in odisha have since 2016 empowered rural populations with alternate and sustainable livelihood. Odisha Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi said from developing Odisha’s tourism and hospitality infrastructure for greater resilience against disruptive events such as cyclones and pandemics, to ensuring responsible design of new tourism products the state has made sustainability as the mantra. Active sessions were held during the summit and successful case studies discussed sustainable solutions to manage water, waste and carbon footprints through community oriented actions with community-led sustainable niche tourism project ‘Ecotour Odisha’ being highly appreciated by the delegates present.
Tourism Secretary Vishal Dev said “Over and above Responsible Tourism, it is our responsibility for 2021 to revive tourism. Apart from flagship offerings in niche segments, the state is working towards making tourism community-led through our flagship project ‘Ecotour Odisha’, an award winning template not only for safe, inclusive and sustainable tourism but also for community and livelihood development through specialised skilling of community members. As part of tourism revival strategy, work is underway to double the capacity of these nature camps from just over 300 room keys to over 600 in the near future, he said.