Leading a delegation to Kolkata for Odisha Tourism Roadshow, Tourism Minister of Odisha Mr Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi said that Odisha has huge untapped tourism potential and the state government is taking measures to unlock the potential.
Speaking at the roadshow, organized by FICCI, Mr Panigrahi said, “We are especially focusing on segments like ecotourism, ethnic and handicrafts tourism, besides capitalising on niche segments like heritage homestays and adventure tourism, so that more tourists can explore the unexplored parts of Odisha – apart from the most popular destinations like Puri and Konark.” “The super-cyclone Fani battered Puri in May this year. But it could not dampen the enthusiasm and dedication of the Government of Mr Naveen Patnaik and the people of Odisha to revive the destination and successfully conduct the grand Rath Yatra,” he added.
The state government has already expressed its intent to encourage investment in experience rich tourism products like houseboat tourism and caravan tourism. Odisha’s present campaign has successfully concluded roadshows in Mumbai, New Delhi and Kochi (Kerala), including rapid B2B networking meetings between travel, apart from select meetings with investors and brands looking to enter Odisha’s tourism and hospitality sector.
Commissioner cum Secretary Mr Vishal Kumar Dev highlighted the key offerings of Odisha across segments such as heritage tourism, ecotourism, ethnic tourism, and spiritual tourism amongst others. Mr Dev, also in charge of the Sports & Youth Services Department, is known to have led Odisha’s emergence as India?s most vibrant sporting destination, a key factor for enhancing the state’s global brand image and pushing up foreign tourist arrivals.
“Bhubaneswar, one of India’s smartest and most liveable cities, is being increasingly connected to other parts of India and the world. It is this city which received commendations from the sporting world’s who’s who for conducting arguably the best sporting events ever in the form of the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018, following the stellar organisation of the Asian Athletics Championships 2017. With this year’s successful organisation of the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship and the much-anticipated FIFA U-17 Women?s Football World Cup 2020, we hope to preserve the global spotlight on India?s Best Kept Secret,” said Mr Dev.
Among the key recent initiatives taken by the Tourism Department of Odisha are:
- Development of a beach city over 1,500 acres at Shamuka Beach across the river Mangala in Puri.
- Investments in Houseboats and Water Sports & Recreation facilities at several sites, the key being Bhitarkanika, Chilika lake and Hirakud Reservoir
- Master Planning for development of TalasariUdaypur Beach adjacent to Digha, at a cost of over Rs 100 crore, over a stretch of 2 km.
- Development of the Buddhist Heritage Circuit comprising Ratnagiri-Udayagiri-Lalitgiri (Jajpur), Dhauli and Jirang Monastery through international collaborations.
- Upgrade of Odisha’s ecotourism sector comprising 40 properties across 19 protected areas (including 2 National Parks) to cater to high end tourists. It is noteworthy that Odisha recently won an award for India’s best Ecotourism Initiative of Community managed ecotourism. Two projects – in Simlipal National Park and Satkosia Tiger Reserve earned revenues of over Rs 1 crore in FY 19, a chunk of which was retained by the local communities.
Odisha, which witnessed 1.5 crore tourist footfalls in 2018, hopes to see the numbers rise to over 2.5 crore in 2021. The state boasts some exciting tourist circuits including diverse wildlife tours across 19 protected areas including two national parks, an enigmatic Buddhist circuit, apart from the spiritually exhilarating Golden Triangle Heritage Circuit of Bhubaneswar – Puri – Konark.