Bhubaneswar, Jan 25: National Tourism Day is celebrated in India on January 25th every year. It's a day to promote tourism and create awareness about the importance of tourism for the country's economy.
India has witnessed a steady rise in tourism. The government has been actively promoting tourism as a key sector for economic growth and job creation. Several initiatives and campaigns, such as "Incredible India," have been launched to showcase the country's diverse cultural, historical, and natural attractions.
Some factors contributing to the growth of Indian tourism include:
E-Visa Facility: The introduction of e-visa facilities has made it easier for tourists to visit India, simplifying the visa application process and encouraging more international visitors.
Infrastructure Development: Improved infrastructure, including better roads, airports, and accommodation facilities, has enhanced the overall travel experience for tourists.
Cultural and Heritage Tourism: India's rich cultural and historical heritage has been a significant draw for tourists. Historical monuments, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and festivals attract visitors from around the world.
Adventure Tourism: India's diverse geography offers opportunities for adventure tourism, including trekking, river rafting, and wildlife safaris. This has become increasingly popular among adventure enthusiasts.
Medical Tourism: India has emerged as a hub for medical tourism, with high-quality healthcare services at competitive prices attracting patients from various countries.
Digital Marketing and Social Media: The use of digital platforms and social media has played a crucial role in promoting tourism, allowing for better reach and engagement with potential visitors.
The post-2014 period aligns with the tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and during this time, there have been efforts to boost tourism through various campaigns and initiatives.
With Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi prioritizing foreign visits, India's relations with other nations have significantly improved over the past decade, positively impacting Indian tourism. As India observes National Tourism Day on January 25, it's worth noting the noticeable surge in tourism since 2014.
In fact, Odisha too is on the verge of introducing an exclusive Melanistic Tiger Safari near the Similipal Tiger Reserve in the Mayurbhanj district. Tourists can now witness the rare and majestic species unique to Odisha.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik shared this exciting information in a post on X. The Similipal National Park has previously witnessed sightings of black tigers or pseudo-melanistic tigers. These extraordinary creatures, characterized by a distinctive dark stripe pattern against a lighter background of white or golden fur, have only been camera-trapped within Similipal National Park so far.
The Melanistic Tiger Safari, a first-of-its-kind globally, will be established near Baripada in the Mayurbhanj district, as announced in an official press release by the PCCF (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden.
Sources said, a 200-hectare area adjacent to NH-18 has been earmarked for this purpose. Approximately 100 hectares will serve as the display area, while the remaining space will be utilized for creating veterinary care facilities, including a rescue center, staff infrastructure, and visitor amenities. The site is conveniently situated about 15 km from Similipal Tiger Reserve, matching the same landscape.
It's a known fact that Similipal Tiger Reserve is the sole habitat for melanistic tigers in the wild worldwide. According to the last All India Tiger Estimation Report published by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in 2018, melanistic tigers have only been found in the wild in Similipal Tiger Reserve.
More tigers from Nandankanan Zoo and rescued/orphaned tigers not suitable for the wild but fit for display will be housed in the safari's open enclosure.
This safari is poised to elevate Odisha's wildlife tourism sector to new heights, underscoring the state's commitment to preserving and showcasing its unique biodiversity. The initiative will provide an opportunity for conservationists, researchers, enthusiasts, and the general public to witness the rare beauty of these majestic creatures up close, raising awareness about their conservation needs.
Situated adjacent to the National Highway and near Baripada town, the site is expected to attract an impressive footfall of visitors. Additionally, it will serve as an added attraction for those visiting Similipal Tiger Reserve.
The State Government's proposal to NTCA regarding this project has received "in-principle" approval from the Technical Committee of NTCA. A committee, to be formed by NTCA, will conduct a feasibility study at the site before granting final approval. Other statutory clearances, including CZA approval, will follow suit.