New Delhi, Dec 26: Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Minister of Tourism, Odia Language, Literature & Culture, Government of Odisha on Wednesday said, “The state of Odisha is doing very well across all sectors under the leadership of the Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik. Tourism is one of the main focus areas for the state. During the pandemic, Odisha Tourism took the opportunity to conduct extensive background work to revive Tourism and the results are what we are seeing today.”
Addressing the ‘Odisha Tourism Virtual Roadshow- 2020’ held for the tourism fraternity from Kolkata, West Bengal, organized by Odisha Tourism and FICCI, Panigrahi, said, “This an opportune time to reach out to the tour operators from West Bengal. Odisha receives 14 per cent of its tourists from West Bengal. The relation between the two states is like two sides of the same coin, with similarities in culture and cuisine. An MoU for joint promotion of tourism between the states will surely enhance the movement of tourists between the states.”
Vishal Kumar Dev, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Tourism, Govt of Odisha, said, “We have taken the adherence to safety protocols very seriously. Odisha has conducted extensive training and workshops for all the tourism stakeholders involved on the safety measures and protocols. All the necessary steps have been taken to ensure that Odisha is ready to welcome tourists to the state. The biggest differentiator would be to generate the confidence of the tourists to travel and we collectively need to send a clear message that the destinations are safe to visit.”
“We are happy to welcome and host the tour operators from West Bengal on a familiarization tour to show the new tourism products of Odisha,” he added.
Sachin Ramchandra Jadhav, Director -Tourism, said, “Odisha is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel starting with the Eco-Retreat receiving an enthusiastic response from the tourists, which is very reassuring. We believe that with the cooperation between the tourism fraternity of West Bengal and Odisha, we will hasten the recovery of tourism, especially in the eastern region.”
West Bengal and Odisha share many cultural similarities. To promote tourism exchange between the two states, Odisha launched three road trip itineraries that are mapped out in detail to give the tourist a truly immersive experience. The first road circuit, ‘Deep into the Mangroves’, from Kolkata to Bhitarkanika via Bichitrapur Sanctuary & Chandipur (4N-5D), covers key destinations, Bichitrapur Mangrove Sanctuary, Talasari Beach, Chandipur’s Receding Beach, Aul Palace and Bhitarkanika National Park along this route.
The second road trip circuit, ‘The Trail of Cascades-Keonjhar’, from Kolkata to Keonjhar – 500 km (3N-4D) covers the Bhimkund Waterfalls, Sitabinji Caves’ fresco paintings, Terracota craft village at Ghatagaon, Gundichaghai Waterfalls, Sanaghagara & Badaghagara Waterfalls and Kanjipani Ghati.
The third road trip circuit, ‘Tiger trails and Royalty’ from Kolkata to Similipal – 470 Km (3N-4D) will cover the Belgadia Palace, Similipal Tiger Reserve, Sitakund Waterfall & Ecotourism Zone, Barehipani – India’s second highest waterfall and the Nawana Valley.
Odisha is rich in spiritual tourism, heritage & Buddhist tourism, culture, arts & handicrafts, ethnic tourism, Odia cuisine, wildlife and eco-tourism, performing arts of Odisha and stunning beaches. The Golden Beach of Puri has received the coveted Blue Flag certification by FEE Denmark by conforming to the stringent environmental norms and ensuring world class sustainable tourist amenities. The renowned eco-label will add to the charm of the world heritage city. The Eco Retreat – a luxury glamping retreat has been launched at Konark, Bhitarkanika, Hirakud, Satkosia and Daringbadi, to showcase tourism destinations in the state.
The fairs and festivals; Konark festival, International Sand Art festival, National Chilika Bird festival, Mukteshwar Dance festival, Rajarani music festival, Dhauli- Kalinga Mahotsav and Vrindaban Mahotsav, are being organized from December 2020 to March 2021 with all safety measures and protocols in place.
JK Mohanty, Co-Chairman, FICCI Tourism Committee and CMD, Swosti Group, said, “Tourism in Odisha has picked up very well thanks to the efforts of the Odisha Government in the past few months. A tourism circuit for the eastern region will help to increase the length of stay of the tourists for more than thirty days as the state has so much to offer.”
Manav Soni, Chairperson (Eastern Region), Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and CEO, Exclusive Travels Private Ltd., said, “With the new tourism products launched by Odisha, there is a tremendous opportunity for an increase in tourism between the two sister states.”
Akanksha Garg, Founder and Director, Waxpol Hotels and Resorts, said, “Odisha has realised the potential for tourism to grow and where both states can promote cross-border tourism in a safe manner.”
A dedicated online portal will update tourists about the safety of the destination to boost their confidence to travel.