Debrigarh: Debrigarh Ecotourism has earned a revenue of Rs.2.5 Crore this financial year-end. Over 27,000 visitors from different parts of India, Odisha, European countries, South Africa, California, and Sydney visited the Debrigarh sanctuary and enjoyed night camps, jungle safari, and boating in the Hirakud wetland.
Last year’s revenue was Rs.1.5 Crore with 16,000 visitors from India & abroad.
Informing that over 6000 visitors stayed in Nature Camp, Anshu Pragyan Das, Hirakud Divisional Forest Officer said, “Around 5 to 10% tourists are foreigners, rest are Indians and around 50% are from Odisha itself. The Island with Safari package ‘Hirakud Cruise & Island Odyssey’ has gained popularity this year mostly among local tourists.”
Jungle trekking with knowledgeable Eco-guides, bird watching, kayaking, and cycling were the other popular activities among tourists. The Jungle Safari trail has been divided into 7 zones for facilitating photographers. Tourists have also sighted Leopard at the shores of Hirakud Lake.
“In December and January, thrice tiger was spotted near Nature Camp and the entry gate of Debrigarh. Never before a tiger has been directly sighted by tourists in Odisha,” shared Anshu.
Livelihood from Debrigarh Ecotourism:
Over 45 families from 5 villages are engaged in Ecotourism activities in Debrigarh which gives them a better livelihood opportunity. They manage Nature Camp with night stay facilities, as drivers of Safari vehicles, a boatman, in the souvenir shop, restaurants, gatemen, and as Eco-guides. The fishermen’s families staying temporarily at Bat Island are also a part of the boating packages.Nature Education programs like ‘Storytelling sessions’, and ‘Spider Talks’ among others are also regularly organized for children and youth.
This year 11 Women Self Help Groups from villages surrounding Debrigarh are also engaged in Ecotourism giving them alternative livelihood options.