HRAO appeals to PM Modi for INR 3000 crore tourism development package
Odisha, with its vast tourism potential ranging from wildlife reserves, beaches, temples, monuments, art and culture, mangrove forests, eco-sensitive forest areas, tribal life, colourful cultural dances, stone crafts, silver filigrees, etc. needs special assistance from the Central Government to develop Eastern India and Odisha in particular, which was recently devastated by Cyclone Fani.
An appeal for a financial assistance package of INR 3,000 crore has been submitted to the office of the Prime Minister of India on May 31, 2019. This appeal was made by the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) and the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO). HRAO and IATO Chairman JK Mohanty wrote to the PM in this regard.
With Rath Yatra round the corner, the Chairman also stated that the tourism industry of Odisha will bounce back with the support of the Central and State Governments which was vastly affected by the cyclone.
Some of the long term plan under appeal included:
The HRAO urges upon the Government to work out for conducting international roadshows in the countries like Bangladesh, USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Russian Federation, Germany, France, etc. from where India receives the highest number of foreign tourists. “Our neighbouring states have already started doing the same. Our State should also invite top travel writers/tour operators from the above countries on FAM tour to witness the vast tourism potential of Odisha. A Special Grant from the Central Government will be required for promoting Odisha abroad.”
The Government could also develop niche market with specific areas like Buddhist Heritage, Chilika Lake, Eco-Tourism, Wildlife, Medical Tourism, improve nightlife activities in Bhubaneswar by having daily traditional Odissi dances and start the night safari in Nandankanan which would be a great attraction for the tourists.
States like Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Goa, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, etc. have increased foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) due to the availability of much more star-category hotels and rooms. But in the case of Odisha (8-star hotels with 594 rooms), FTAs have not increased in comparison to the above states. “Unless our state has more number of classified hotels, we cannot increase foreign tourist footfall in our State. The requirement of rooms in Odisha other than Bhubaneswar and Puri are 2,000 rooms under 3-star category, 500 rooms under 5-star category and around 4000 rooms in 2-star category. We can expect more tourists only when we have more hotel rooms in different tourist locations in the State.”
The HRAO has also asked for a Special Grant of INR 1,000 crore for building hotel rooms in Odisha. The amount will be utilised for giving 30% capital investment subsidy and 5% interest subsidy for boasting the hotel accommodation sector.
Nature has gifted Odisha with 1,100 sq km brackish water lake Chilika which is the largest lagoon in the Northern Hemisphere. To attract high-end domestic as well as foreign tourists, the HRAO also demanded the Central Government to grant INR 500 crore towards development of Biju Patnaik Park situated at Chilika lake, to create an international standard Water Sports HUB, provision of Houseboats, cruises and water sports equipment at Chilika Lake; ropeway facility from Biju Patnaik Park to Malatikuda Island and Malatikuda Island to Kalijai Temple; ropeway facility at Taratarini Temple.
A copy of the letter was sent to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the Tourism Ministers of the Union Government and Odisha Government.