Odisha to promote coastal tourism, new tourism policy on anvil

Palicans taking rest

All set to bring out a new Tourism policy-2016 soon, Odisha has decided to promote coastal tourism after its success in attracting visitors to the eco projects.

The decision was taken at the Tourism Advisory Committee meeting held under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary A P Padhi.
As the state has a 480-km-long coastline, the tourism department was told to focus on the natural potential.Keeping in view the changing scenario and needs in world tourism market, the state government has already prepared a pragmatic draft tourism policy.

“Various stakeholder consultations have been held and the draft Tourism Policy, 2016 was prepared for consideration of the government,” Tourism Secretary G K Dhal said.

The new policy envisages attractive offers to invite investments particularly in areas of land allotment, capital investment and interest subsidy, VAT and entry tax reimbursement, environment protection, infrastructure subsidy, entertainment tax, MV tax for tourist coaches, participation in overseas tourist events and printing of literature, Dhal said.

As the Tourism ministry has approved the coastal tourism circuit for the state, Odisha government would develop certain beaches like Gopalpur, Tampara, Barkul and Satapada.

Padhi directed the tourism department to work out a structured trip package for various eco-tourism spots in Odisha.

The departments of Forest and Environment and Tourism have been asked to work out the package in convergence.

Padhi also asked the department to involve local people in management of hospitality and accommodation centers in eco-tourist spots through proper training and motivation.
Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan urged tour

operators and hotel and restaurants association to promote already developed centres like the tribal interpretation centre and maritime museums in the state.

Padhi also directed the tourism department to complete identification of land for tourism land bank in three months.

The Chief Secretary further advised that eco-tourism spots should be advertised and popularised through domestic tour operators so as to attract more tourists.

The tourism department was asked to make road shows and participation in international tourism promotion events, more focused and outcome-oriented.

As per earlier decisions, development and management of eco-tourism spots have been transferred to Forest and Environment department.

“Steps are being taken to augment the available infrastructure and facilities in popular eco-tourist spots,” Forest and Environment Secretary S C Mohapatra said.

Around 20 eco-tourism sites have been taken up with estimated investment of Rs 100 crore over a period of 5 years.

There has been constant increase in tourist footfall in eco-tourist spots over last 3 years, the Tourism Secretary said.

In 2012-13, total footfall in eco-tourist spots was 2,76,206 which increased to 3,12,980 in 2013-14 and further to 3,47,965 in 2014-15. “This year there is a rising trend in footfall. It is expected to cross the last year’s mark,” Dhal said.

Dangmala, Gupti, Daringibadi, Kanjiapani, Chilika and Talasari sea beach offer more exciting sites of wildlife and scenic beauty. It was decided to popularise these spots through various national and global tour agencies.

As the home department has relaxed the restrictions regarding tourist trips to tribal areas, notification to this effect has already been issued. Tourism has been identified as a priority sector in IPR, 2015.