Sambalpur: The surge in Covid-19 cases has adversely impacted the ongoing Eco Retreat along the Hirakud reservoir in Sambalpur.
The booking of cottages at the Eco Retreat has reached a meagre 10 per cent, affecting the business as was expected in early part of the current year, a report said.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had inaugurated the Eco Retreat December 15, 2021. The Tourism department had expected more footfall of tourists at the Eco Retreat than that of the previous year.
The tourist turnout has so far been discouraging even one month after its inauguration. It was learnt that between December 15 and January 15, less than 10 per cent bookings have been logged for cottages.
In previous year, footfall of more tourists was recorded towards the last week of December and first week of January. It was said that 100 per cent bookings were logged during the period.
But in the current year, cottage bookings have been miserable. Deputy director of the Tourism department Hemant Pradhan said that Covid restrictions and fears of transmission among tourists played a spoiler for Eco Retreat.
He further stated that there are 3-star facilities – delicious food, bar, drawing hall, meetings halls – in 27 cottages to attract tourists.
Moreover, other recreational facilities like boating, cycling, rifle shooting, sight-seeing of Debrigarh sanctuary and other tourist facilities. Water sports facility has been made in the reservoir for local and outside tourists.
It was stated that even local tourists fear to enjoy water sports due to Covid transmission. In previous year, local tourists used to visit the Eco Retreat and lakhs of rupees was warned.
The water sports facility was closed too. Last year, 40 per cent cottages had been booked within three months logging Grade-1 business. In the current month, no booking was made, but it is expected that tourist footfall will grow in coming months.
On the other hand, the agency which has got tender for the Eco Retreat management is in a spot over poor business.