The decreasing trend in tourist arrivals numbers has prompted Odisha Tourism to come out with a new marketing tool in the form of Odisha Travel Bazaar to halt the trend. Organised by industry chamber FICCI, the Bazar is schedule to take place on October 15-17, 2017 in Bhubaneswar.
Addressing media and trade in New Delhi recently, Ashok C Panda, Minister for Tourism and Culture, Government of Odisha, said that Odisha is endowed with rich cultural and natural heritage which has remain untapped so far. The Bazaar is aimed at unlocking this potential. . He urged the travel and tourism industry to “look towards the East” as they had been promoting conventional destinations of Kerala, Rajasthan and Goa for a very long time. He said that the government is looking for private sector participation for the development of infrastructure in tourism sector.
Giving an elaborate presentation on the business and investment opportunities available in Odisha’s tourism sector, Nitin Bhanudas Jawale, Director & Additional Secretary, Department of Tourism, Govt. of Odisha, said that with better air connectivity Odisha is now easily accessible by travelers from across the globe. “There has been vast improvement in air connectivity over the last 3-5 years with air capacity growing 200 to 300 per cent. AirAsia recently launched Bhuvaneswar –Kuala Lumpur flight. We are hoping that Bhuvaneswar will be connected to 2-3 more overseas destinations in near future,” he said and informed that the state government is offering Rs 1.6 lakhs per round trip to AirAisa under viability Gap Fund (VGF) for one year. “We offer this subsidy to other carriers as well,” he said.
AirAsia was selected through competitive bidding. The state government had invited an Expression of Interest (EoI) from the scheduled air carriers for running flights to destinations in South East Asia like Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. He hoped that the state is set to join ‘the big league of states’ in terms of tourism shortly as visitor footfall into the state is growing year on year. He also informed that the state’s new tourism policy provides lucrative incentives and subsidies to investors. Also, the government had initiated single window clearance system, which has made the process of acquiring various clearances easier.
He informed that Shamuka Beach Project is set to get environmental clearance in the next 3 months. The Project includes Convention center, social infrastructure, Housing Gurukul, hospitality institute, street bazar, art & craft museum, condominium villas, public parks, golf courses & hotels.
He said that the government is focused on promoting Beach Tourism; Eco Tourism; Buddhist Tourism; Heritage Tourism; Religious Tourism; Medical Tourism; Travel Tourism; Tribal Tourism; Wellness Tourism; Cruise Tourism; Sand Art Tourism and Adventure Tourism, in a mission mode. He added that development of infrastructure in tourism sector was one of the critical components and the State Government was looking for private sector participation. J K Mohanty, CMD, Swosti Group praised the state government for their proactive steps to promote tourism.
Jyotsna Suri, CMD, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, said that OTB will see the presence of of around 40 foreign tour operators, 10 top of the line inbound operators, 20 leading domestic tour operators from across India, 5 leading airlines.