Odisha Tourism Conclave highlights the state’s myriad tourism offerings

Odisha Tourism recently organised an ‘Odisha Tourism Conclave’ in association with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Hotel & Restaurant Association of Orissa (HRAO), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Utkal Chamber of Commerce & Industries (UCCI) and Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) at Hotel Swosti Premium, Bhubaneswar.

While addressing the gathering, Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha, said, “Our state has created a significant improvement pertaining to law and order and general infrastructure. Odisha is a true source of Incredible India due to the diverse range of flora and fauna, culture, tradition, tribal diversity and many more.”

The CM pointed out that in recent years, the tourist arrivals to the state have shown a prominent rise. With the declaration of Bhubaneswar Airport as an international airport, the state tourism board is assertive to receive a significant number of international tourists.

The tourism department of Odisha has signed an MoU with Air Asia that offers daily flights from Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lumpur. It will open the Southeast Asia window for Odisha resulting in larger tourist footfalls.

Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister for Tourism & Culture, Government of Odisha, said, “Odisha’s 2016 Tourism Policy has been a progressive policy that has precise plans to encourage tourism and infrastructure in Odisha. Air Asia flying to Kuala Lumpur from Bhubaneswar is a milestone that we have achieved and we aim to advance the investments in the tourism sector by developing more visibility to the tourism offerings of our state. We are also very honoured to be the host state for IATO Annual Convention in September along with Odisha Travel Bazaar by FICCI.”

Panda also informed that the department of tourism is trying to boost the average stay of a traveller to the state-owned hotels by organising several cultural theme based events and heritage walks.

Dr Nitin B Jawale, Director Tourism and MD, Odisha Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, briefed about the existing and ongoing projects of the state’s tourism department. “We have recently entered into an MoU with the forest department to promote Eco Tourism since more than one-third area of the state is covered with forests. We have also undertaken the charge to develop infrastructure in these areas and promote it equally and aggressively through digital and print mediums. The forest areas also house 62 different tribes in these regions having diversity in language, skill and culture. We want to develop more skill based activities for the local communities working here and promote it amongst foreign and domestic tourists,” he said.

The tourism department had also been working on its major project for Shamuka Beach. It is approximately 1000 acres project for which the department is working on the relevant clearances from multiple departments. It will comprise of Golf Course, villas, museums, followed by much more which will also turn to be the largest and most lucrative tourism areas in the entire country.

Under department of tourism’s land banking exercise, they have identified 3,700 acres of land primarily near the untapped tourist spots. These banking displays are specifically for investors in order to establish tourist friendly projects on these areas. This project is on for five years through which different locations in Odisha can build tourism.

The conclave had 45 speakers from the public and private sector taking sessions on Branding Odisha from Smart City to Smart State through digital marketing, TV, social and print media mediums; the Need to Build tourism infrastructure and connect Odisha globally; tourism to be the driving force of future economy of Odisha; promoting niche tourism- eco and wildlife tourism, Buddhist tourism, tribal tourism, textile and handicraft tourism and adventure tourism; Skill development in hospitality-safety and security for growth of tourism and advantage destination: Odisha- Investments, Policies  and Opportunities.