The state government had made significant progress on all parameters, social and otherwise, in the past years, and tourism in Odisha was poised for growth with stronger air-connectivity with the commencement of international flights from Bhubaneshwar airport, said CM Naveen Patnaik. Addressing a packed gathering in the valedictory session of Odisha Tourism Conclave, 2017 at Hotel Swosti Premium, Bhubaneshwar, he shared several initiatives taken by his government, including unveiling a progressive and futuristic tourism policy in 2016. Excerpts from his address.
Commending the joint efforts put by Odisha Tourism and the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha in organising the conclave, CM Naveen Patnaik noted that tourism could only thrive with the joint efforts of government and the private sector and, therefore, “the cooperation between them is indeed commendable.”
The Chief Minister made a pitch for the state tourism, stating that “tourism in Odisha is poised for a big push and a number of initiatives have been taken by the government for the same.”
Outlining some of the key initiatives taken by his government, he said “one of the noticeable milestone in the tourism policy are the guidelines that lay down the concessions available in the tourism sector. A single-window mechanism is out in place for expeditious clearance of proposals.”
He shared that tourist arrivals in the state had been steadily growing and with the declaration of Bhubaneshwar airport as an international airport, “there has been a significant jump in the international tourist arrivals.” He further shared that the state tourism department had recently signed a memorandum of agreement with Air Asia, “and for the first time in Odisha, direct flights have been started between Bhubaneshwar and Kuala Lumpur.” “This will open up the Southeast Asia window for Odisha and I am sure this will result in larger tourist footfalls in Odisha,” the CM added.
He highlighted that the state had made significant progress on social indicators, on the law and order front, and creation of general infrastructure. “We boast a long coastline, scenic eco-tourism sites and rich legacy of handloom and handicrafts, as well as pilgrimage sites for Buddhism and Hinduism,” CM Patnaik said.
Further detailing the tourism product of the state, he said “Odisha is also home to many tribal groups. The social fabric of our state is diverse and harmonious as well.”
Calling Odisha the soul of ‘Incredible India’, he invited the private sector to work with the state government. “I welcome all of you to partner with us in making Odisha the next tourism destination of the country and of the world,” CM Naveen Patnaik said.