Eco-tourism has been identified as one of the Niche Tourism areas for development in the country, including Odisha, by the Ministry of Tourism.
Ministry of Tourism has taken several steps to develop and promote eco-tourism in the country, including Odisha, which inter alia include the following:
(i) In order to position India as a preferred global destination for Eco/sustainable and responsible tourism, Ministry of Tourism has formulated National Strategies for Eco-Tourism and Sustainable Tourism.
In order to guide the operationalization and implementation of the strategy documents, a National Board for Sustainable Tourism has been constituted under the chairmanship of Secretary (Tourism). 1st and 2nd meetings of the Board were held on 16th August 2022 and 31st October 2022 respectively during which detailed deliberations were made on the plan of action for operationalization and implementation of the strategy documents, which include eco-tourism.
(ii) Ministry of Tourism entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI) on 27th September 2021 to undertake measures to actively promote and support 'sustainability initiatives' in the tourism sector of each other and work in a collaborative manner.
(iii) Ministry of Tourism evolved & adopted Comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) for major segments of the tourism industry, namely accommodation units and tour operators, applicable for the entire country, including Odisha.
(iv) Recognizing the potential for the development of Ecotourism in the country, Ministry of Tourism identified “Eco Circuit” as one of the 15 thematic circuits under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
This information was given by Minister of Tourism, Shri G. Kishan Reddy in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.