Odisha brings im­mense po­ten­tial

Ashok Chan­dra Panda, Min­is­ter of State, Depart­ment of Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of Odisha, shares that they are im­ple­ment­ing poli­cies that would strengthen the state’s agenda of fur­ther­ing its tourism spec­trum.

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Acom­pre­hen­sive plan has been drawn for ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively tap­ping Odisha’s tourism po­ten­tial, tar­get­ing a sub­stan­tial in­crease in ar­rivals to the state. Talk­ing about th­ese ini­tia­tives, Ashok Chan­dra Panda, Min­is­ter of State, Depart­ment of Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of Odisha, at the in­au­gu­ral ses­sion of FHRAI’s 52nd An­nual Con­ven­tion, said, “Odisha was the host state for FHRAI’s golden ju­bilee con­ven­tion. We also re­cently con­cluded the IATO con­ven­tion. In another ini­tia­tive, we, along with FICCI, have in­vited the tourism in­dus­try to the first Odisha Travel Bazaar, which was held be­tween Oc­to­ber 15 and 17, 2017, in Bhubaneswar. Odisha has fab­u­lous tourist spots that are spread across the length and breadth of the state, and east­ern ports that make it an ideal des­ti­na­tion for tourists. The state has some des­ti­na­tions from the Stone Age that are still un­ex­plored. Presently, growth of tourist ar­rivals to the state is about 9 per cent, which is more than the global tourist ar­rival rate of 4 per cent. This is a pos­i­tive sign for the state. Odisha has mag­nif­i­cent tem­ples with Ja­gan­nath Tem­ple in Puri, Sun Tem­ple in Konark, and the Muk­tesh­vara and Lin­garaja tem­ples in Bhubaneswar. Eco­tourism, eth­nic tourism, Bud­dhist tourism, MICE, etc., have gained mo­men­tum. Na­ture has been very kind to Odisha; it is unique in its min­eral and nat­u­ral re­sources with al­most 35 per cent of the state cov­ered with dense forests. It has a coast­line of 480 kms and the largest brack­ish wa­ter body, Lake Chi­lika.” Re­lax GST of 28 per cent

Odisha, of late, has emerged as an in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion in the coun­try, specif­i­cally for hos­pi­tal­ity. “We formed a new tourism pol­icy in 2016, one of the most at­trac­tive tourism poli­cies in the whole coun­try. In­vestors can de­rive max­i­mum ben­e­fits from this pol­icy for speedy clear­ance of tourism projects on fast-track ba­sis and sin­glewin­dow clear­ance sys­tems. Odisha’s image has also been trans­formed with the suc­cess­ful or­gan­i­sa­tion of the Asian Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships. We have made no com­pro­mise with the safety and se­cu­rity of tourists visit­ing the state. To make their visit has­sle-free, we have in­tro­duced po­lice pa­trolling in the Puri- Konark and Puri-Sat­pura re­gions. Tourist Po­lice has been in­tro­duced in places fre­quented by do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional trav­ellers. We have sound and light shows at Dhauli, where the Kalinga bat­tle was fought in 200 BC, and also at the thir­teenth-cen­tury Konark Sun Tem­ple. If CRZ norms are eased, it will give a boost to coastal-cir­cuit tourism. In the Sa­muda project, 1000 acres of land has been pro­cured for con­struc­tion of world-class in­fras­truc­ture for a tourism project that will cater to the re­quire­ments of high­end tourists.

Odisha has fab­u­lous tourist spots spread across the length and breadth of the state, and east­ern ports which make it an ideal des­ti­na­tion for tourists

At the re­cently con­cluded IATO con­fer­ence in Odisha, a lot of con­cern was ex­pressed by del­e­gates on the 28 per cent GST on the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor. To pro­mote tourism, the GST of 28 per cent needs to be re­laxed,” added Panda.

Ashok Chan­dra Panda Min­is­ter of State, Depart­ment of Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of Odisha

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