Bhubaneswar: Odisha eco-tourism is witnessing a stead increase in number of international tourists coming from countries like UK, France, America, Germany, Singapore, Netherland Australia, Denmark, Bangladesh Kazakasthan, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea and Switzerland for their stay in the nature in the State.

The number of night stay visitors from these countries has increased from 9859 in year 2016-17 to 13,785 in 2017-18 and further to 20,127 in the year 2018-19. The revenue generation from this has showed an upward trend from Rs 47 lakh in 2016-17 to Rs 5.60 crore in 2018-19.

This was disclosed by the principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) HS Upadhaya at a high level Eco-tourism Board meeting held under the chairmanship of chief secretary Asit Tripathy, here on Wednesday.

The Board decided to develop Chandipur, Chitrakonda, Satiguda Koraput-pine forest, Tensa, Patora Dam in Nuapada and Narsinghnath in Bargarh as new eco-tourism sites and would be opened for tourists this season. With these new seven destinations, the total number of eco-tourism destinations would be increased to 47.

The chief secretary directed to put in place a Home Stay policy near identified sanctuaries and eco-destinations like Similipal, Bhitarkanika, Chilika, Daringbadi and Satkosia. He also advised that international travel writers and travel experts be involved in the eco-tourism drive of the State.

Development commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, principal secretary forest and environment Mona Sharma, principal secretary finance Ashok Meena, tourism secretary Vishal Kumar Dev, Chilika Development Authroity CEO Sushanta Nanda, and representative from travel and tour operators Banzamin were present.