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Odisha to Promote Experiential Tourism

The impact of COVID-19 has caused a paradigm shift for the travel, hospitality and tourism Industry. “There is a lot of pent up demand to travel. What is crucial now is our ability to generate and inspire confidence among the people that travelling is safe. Odisha Tourism is focusing on safety and health, domestic tourism and promotion on curated and niche experiences,”  Vishal Kumar Dev, Commissioner– cum– Secretary, Tourism and Sports and Youth Services Department, Govt of Odisha, said while addressing a webinar on ‘Future of Travel & Tourism and Strategies to Revitalize the Industry’ organized by FICCI and Odisha Tourism.

He informed that Odisha has been working on a number of innovative products over the past three-four months to enhance the brand value of the state. “These include houseboats, river cruises, culinary tourism, to promote the Odia cuisine and the makeover of the Niladri beach, which will soon be among the first ‘Blue Flag’ beaches in India. The Konark glamping festival had received a positive response last year and we plan to launch the same at four new destinations in Odisha this year, Dev noted.

Sachin Ramchandra Jadhav, Director & Addl. Secretary, Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha, said, “The Government is positive about the recovery and revival of Tourism sector and we are taking steps in this direction.” Taking the example of other states which have opened to tourism, he said that the earlier we open, the earlier we will learn to revive tourism.

“While our response to the pandemic has been tactical, our approach to restart tourism has to be strategic and we must set our priorities right,” he added. 

 Dhruv Shringi, Co-Chair, FICCI Tourism Committee, Chairman, FICCI Travel Technology Committee and Co-Founder and CEO, Yatra Online Inc, said, “It is high time that we focus on expanding the purview of domestic tourism. It will become more localised and we need to work with the authorities to promote hidden gems which have otherwise been unknown.” 

Anita Mendiratta, Global Advisor and Author- Tourism & Development and Special Advisor to Secretary General, UNWTO, said, “We have to first recognize that this is a global and humanitarian health crisis that has caused an economic travel and tourism crisis. Our industry is vital when it comes to supply chain and comprises of 80 percent of SMEs.” Travel and Tourism have become the solution and the basis of recovery of the global economy and society; trust is the new currency to restart this industry, she said. 

Dipak Deva, Co-Chair, FICCI Tourism Committee and Managing Director, Sita, TCI & Distant Frontiers, said, “The tourism industry is a huge job creator and has the largest number of SMEs that has shown the way for an Atmanirbhar Bharat.” Tourism will revive in a strong way, provided that we take the right steps now. However, we must ensure that travellers return to travelling in a sustainable way, he added. 

JK Mohanty, Co-Chair, FICCI Tourism Committee, Chairman, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) and CMD, Swosti Group, “This is the best time for the government to offer incentives for investment in hotel infrastructure in the state. A project like ‘Disneyland’ will also boost tourism to the state.” 

Anil Chadha, Chief Operating Officer, ITC Hotels, said, “We all have to co-exist along with the pandemic and make the best of it. The new code for hotels now is sanitization before personalization. Safety in hotel operations is the first assurance that a customer now looks for.”

Chef Ranveer Brar, Renowned Celebrity Chef, Author and TV Host, said, “We need to rework the way we look at food and be proud of our cuisine. The narrative for food should involve the traveller to make it experiential and valued.” 

Ashish Kumar, Co-Chairman, FICCI Travel Technology Committee & Thought Leader said, “We need strategies and policy changes in the private sector to revive the tourism industry.

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