Bengaluru, NFAPost: Odisha, the 8th largest state by area in India, is bringing a silent revolution in the tourism sector with its Odisha Tourism Policy to come up with sustainable and inclusive development agenda by harnessing more investment, employment creation, and share to state GDP.
In an interaction with NFAPost, Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi said under the leadership of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik the state is going through a transformative phase and tourism sector led by Odisha Tourism Policy is an important component of that journey.
“Odisha is the best-kept secret of India and our Ministry is involved in coming up with experiences to travel buffs without time tested spiritual & heritage tourism, coastland & wetland tourism, eco-tourism, handicrafts tourism, ethnic tourism, and fairs & festivals,” said Odisha Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi.
Odisha Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi was in Bengaluru as part of the fourth leg of the promotional campaign to boost the travel, tourism, and hospitality sector in the domestic market via a tourism roadshow. The event was organised along with FICCI where more than 100 travel operators from Karnataka and 30 host counterparts from Odisha engage in a series of B2B interactions.
The Minister also made it clear that Odisha Tourism Policy is helping the state to enhance investment with inclusive development as an agenda. “Besides investment, Odisha Tourism is availing technology to come up with a parigm shift in coming up with experiential tourism of unexplored beauty of Odish. We will have house boat and other facilities in the state soon,” said Odisha Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi.
Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi also highlighted the fact that the tourism sector in Odisha is showing great resilience against the Omicron scare.
“Our sustainable tourism projects like the Eco Retreat are organised with strict adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols and all the guidelines laid down by both the central and state governments. Here, I welcome all our brothers and sisters from Karnataka and other parts of the country to come and explore Odisha, India’s best ket secret,” Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi.
Apart from highlighting the state’s various tourism offerings, Odisha Tourism Director Sachin R Jadhav said the state’s flagship tourism project Eco Retreat has become the cynosure of all eyes with its successful luxury tourism model incorporating best practices in material utilisation and holistic waste management.
“The third edition of Eco Retreat Odisha is currently being held across seven exotic locations in the state including three beach destinations of Konark, Pati-Sonapur in Ganjam and Pentha in Bhitarkanika National Park. The retreats offer sustainable luxury tented accommodation replete with 3-star amenities,” said Odisha Tourism Director Sachin R Jadhav.
He also said currently tourism sector contributes around 10% of state GDP and the state vision is to take it up around 15%. “Odisha has everything for travel. But the narrative is missing and Odisha is making an attempt to come up with the new narrative which states that Odisha is the best-kept secret of India. This will also fuel employment generation also,” said Sachin R Jadhav.
Besides Denmark’s FEE’s prestigious Blue Flag certified Puri beach, Odisha is known for its 19 sanctuaries, Asia’s largest brackish water lake Chilka, Ramsar wetland site called Bhitarkanika, and Sakushal Gorge. “Combined with this Odisha has five national parks and Satkosia Tiger Reserve. We have also come up with 44 nature camps inside these national parks and tiger reserve for the past five years,” he said.
Apart from this, Odish is also the land of heritage and monuments. “Besides Konark and Puri temples, Odisha is the land of Budhisim where it spread across the globe with Emporer Ashoka with its roots in Lalitgiri, Udaygiri and Ratnagiri,” he said.
Commenting on the investment opportunities in tourism investment, he said the state government formulated Odisha Tourism Policy in 2016 and it is in synchronisation with Odisha Industrial Policy resolutions.
“We should understand that tourism is not only recreation only but it is a service industry and unless there is right investment in this sector it will not grow. We provide land for hospitality projects in similar raltes to that of projects in industry, espeically for pojects like hotels, amusement parks and other tourism related projects. We also provide 20% capital investment subsidy,” he said.
He added that all investment made by anybody in Odisha tourism sector will get 20% cash back and the policy initiatives are bearing fruits. “Last one year itself we got five proposals for setting up fivestar resort property in Konark,” he said.
Over last 15 years, Odisha is consistently in the top three position as far as all India ranking is concerned. “Toursim is also growing in Odisha eventhough it was unorganisaed sector. Since there is a spirit among young crowd to explore rural area, Odisha is a best bet with its offerings. Also, the state is known for 64 distinct tribes and 24% population are tribals,” said Odisha Tourism Director Sachin R Jadhav.