The Samikhsya Bureau
BHUBANRESWAR: Odisha Tourism was conferred the Silver Award for “Best Future Forward State” at the sixth edition of the Indian Responsible Tourism Awards, organised for the first time outside the National Capital Territory of Delhi, at Eco Retreat Odisha in Konark on Wednesday.
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.
“Odisha’s contribution to promoting responsible tourism is well established. Our ecotourism model of community-managed nature camps has since 2016 empowered rural populations with alternate and sustainable livelihood.
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 – we have made sustainability our mantra”, said Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Minister for Tourism of Government of Odisha.
“Over and above Responsible Tourism, it is our responsibility for 2021 to revive tourism. Apart from flagship offerings in niche segments, we are 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 our 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 while the recently commissioned Biju Expressway has greatly helped us take the benefits of tourism and hospitality to the hinterlands”, deliberated Vishal Dev, Principal Secretary Tourism, Government of Odisha.
Director Tourism, Sachin Jadhav delivered a crisp presentation highlighting the diverse aspects of Odisha, which resonate with its brand identity as India’s best kept secret.