Badmul, a remote village nestled in Odisha’s famed Satkosia forest reserve, raked in Rs 1.3 crore from eco-tourism, bolstered by 3000 visitors, 20 per cent of whom were foreign tourists from Germany, France and Britain.
An eco-tourism project launched there by the state government in 2016 and driven by community participation, has turned the village into the highest revenue grosser when compared to other community-based projects in the country.
“This is the highest ever earning recorded by a village in the country from any community-based project. Odisha’s eco-tourism model stands out because 90 per cent of the revenue is ploughed back to the local community. By offering them a sustainable livelihood option and empowering them, we have made a big success out of the eco-tourism projects,” said Anshu Pragyan Das, divisional forest officer (wildlife division) and deputy conservator of forests (eco-tourism), Odisha forest department.
Titled ‘Satkosia Sands Resort and Nature Camp’, the project comprises nine tents pitched on the Mahanadi river bed and seven cottages on the hill slopes overlooking the Satkosia gorge.
Odisha has 40 community-managed nature camps. In this financial year, the state government has already earned Rs 5.6 crore from eco-tourism projects, offering employment to around 1000 villagers dependent on forests.