ALSO READAirport Authority of India moots new international airport in Odisha Pranab Mukherjee, LK Advani, Yechury to release book on Biju Patnaik Gulf states woo Indian tourists with visa on arrival schemes, relaxed norms Odisha leans on nature tourism, to showcase hotspots on YouTube Sobriety after ecstatic reaction
In order to boost inbound foreign tourist arrivals, the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO), has stressed on the need for starting e-tourist visa arrival facility for guests arriving at the Biju Patnaik International Airport. “Many airports in the country have e-tourist visa-on-arrival facility. However, Bhubaneswar airport, despite its international tag, lacks the facility.
It is imperative to have such a facility to attract foreign tourists”, said J K Mohanty, chairman of the association. As many as 16 airports in India have e-tourist visa-on-arrival facilities. The apex body representing the hotel industry in the state has submitted a list of recommendations to chief minister Naveen Patnaik. The recommendations were the outcome of the 2nd Odisha Tourism conclave held last year. The suggestions also include declaring the hotel industry as an infrastructure industry in the state, which will enable the banks to provide a loan repayment period of 18 years for the industry. To meet the growing demands of its tourism sector, Odisha has to add 5,000 more hotel rooms at an investment of Rs 50 billion (Rs 5,000 crore). “To attract international tourists to Odisha, the state must aggressively conduct roadshows in countries from where tourist inflow to India is the highest. The government can appoint a brand ambassador as has been done by states like Gujarat and West Bengal”, he added. HRAO has also pitched for faster development of regional airports in the state to take tourists to different parts of the state (Jharsuguda and Jeypore). “The state government should develop niche markets with specific areas like Buddhist heritage, Chilika Lake, eco-tourism, wildlife, medical tourism and improved nightlife activities in Bhubaneswar, by having daily traditional Odissi dances and starting the night safari in Nandankanan which would be a great attraction for the tourists”, he added. HRAO stressed on implementing the new Tourism Policy declared in 2016, in true spirit. “The guidelines which were declared six months after announcement of the policy defeats the intention of the policy”, Mohanty rued.