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|Chilika lagoon named 'destination flyways' by United Nations World Tourism Organization|
|Chilika lagoon has been named 'destination flyways' by United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) after its inclusion in a list of eight such sites worldwide. It is the only site in Asia to be thus recognized by UNWTO. The lagoon was so named because it is a sustainable and resilient destination for migratory water birds, said official sources. "UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of universally accessible tourism. Over the years, Chilika has proved to be the ideal destination for migratory birds, which is the reason why it is also a globally-acclaimed tourist destination," said chief executive of Chilika Development Authority (CDA) Ajit Kumar Pattnaik. He said it was heartening to get the title as the UNWTO offers support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.|
The name was recommended by Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (SCBD), the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS), the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, the World Heritage and Man and the Biosphere Programmes of (WHC and MAB), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Wetlands International and Birdlife International.
"This initiative of UNWTO aims at promotion sustainable tourism at Chilika. The UNWTO has also commissioned a mission for Chilika in January, which is being led by Virginia Trapa (a member of UNWTO). During its visit to Chilika, the mission discussed the management of Chilika Lake. The team interacted with reformed bird hunters, who are now bird watching at Magalajodi," said Pattnaik.
The number of winged visitors to Chilika Lake fell this season with 1.58 lakh fewer migratory birds sighted than the previous season. Ornithologists said the number of birds had perhaps dwindled due to the effect of cyclone Phailin. The annual bird count conducted in the 1,100sqkm lake a week ago put the count at around 7.19 lakh birds belonging to 58 species. Around 8.77 lakh birds of 180 species had visited the lake last winter and 8.83 lakh birds of 167 species had visited the blue lagoon in 2012, the sources said.
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