The Odisha government has decided to put in place a robust mechanism to ascertain the tourist arrivals in the state.
In the first meeting of Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC) held recently, it was felt that the methodology for calculating the tourist arrival needs to be studied further.
"The methodology adopted by the statistical division of tourism department to ascertain tourist arrivals should be studied further and a robust mechanism may be developed to capture authentic data in respect of tourist arrivals, number of hotels and rooms, average day stay of the tour, etc," read the minutes of the first meeting of the committee.
As per economic survey 2014-15, a domestic tourist spends Rs 1,357 per day and the average duration of his stay is 3.7 days. Similarly, the average visit duration and spending of a foreign tourist is 14.2 days and Rs 2,255 per day respectively.
The revenue generated from tourist inflow to Odisha during 2013-14 was Rs 10,597.54 crore, an increase of 117.38 per cent over 2012-13.
At the TAC meeting, it was also decided to move the Union ministry of Tourism to include Dhauli, Ratnagiri, Udaygiri and Lalitgiri under the Buddhist circuit scheme as Buddhism spread to rest of the world following transformation of Emperor Ashok in the Kalinga war fought in the state.
The Union government has launched five thematic schemes namely North-East circuit, Buddhist circuit, Himalaya circuit, Coastal circuit and Krishna circuit. However, Odisha has been included only under the Coastal circuit scheme.
TAC also decided that the government lands should be identified around 12 identified eco-tourism zones and put under the tourism department for creation of land banks. Hoteliers can be allotted land from these patches as provided under the Tourism Policy-2013.
Admitting that eco-tourism areas and tribal dominated areas are important destinations from tourism point of view, the committee decided that existing guidelines for visiting the areas inhabited by particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG) need to be streamlined.
"A committee under the chairmanship of principal secretary (home department) with Director General of Police, commissioner cum secretary (schedule caste and schedule tribe department) and commissioner cum secretary (tourism) as members should be notified by tourism department (after the approval of the Chief Minister). It may examine the existing guidelines and recommend for revision, if any," the minutes of the TAC meeting read.
JK Mohanty, chairman, Hotel and Restaurant Association Odisha (HRAO), pitched for state's participation in more international tourism events. The meeting was chaired by chief secretary, GC Pati.