Bhitarkanika, Hirakud set to host Eco Retreat starting December 1

To aid the badly-hit tourism industry in the post-COVID era, the Odisha Government’s tourism arm has planned to host its three-month-long flagship event Eco Retreat, starting December 1. The Eco Retreat will take place across various locations in Odisha including the Bhitarkanika National Park and the Hirakud Dam.

While at Bhitarkanika – the country’s second-largest mangrove ecosystem after the Sunderbans – the festival will be held at the banks of the Baitarani river, it will be organised in Jamadarpali airstrip near the Hirakud dam. As many as fifteen luxury tents are planned to be set up along with round the clock electricity and water supply. Arrangements have also been made for parking facilities near the tents. The event has been modelled on a public-private partnership basis.

The meticulously planned event includes cultural programmes, food festivals, forest trekking and a visit to the pristine beaches nearby. Odisha Tourism will soon start the facility for online booking of the luxury tents, the price of which is yet to be ascertained and shall be decided upon by the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC).

Senior officials from Odisha Tourism along with the district administration have already conducted several review meetings to ensure smooth conduct of the three-month-long event. Last year, the Eco Retreat Festival was a tourist favourite and was held in Chandrabhaga Beach, near the Konark Sun Temple. “The event would help to revive the tourism in the region affected due to the pandemic,” said Rajnagar District Forest Officer Bikash Ranjan Dash.

Notably, Puri’s famed Marine Drive will also play host to the Eco Retreat Festival from December 1 on the back of last year’s stellar response.

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