With the hospitality sector in Odisha taking a hit following Cyclone Fani, an association of hoteliers on Thursday sought the state government's support to restore tourist spots in Puri, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.
In statement issued on Wednesday, the Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) said it has come up with both short-term and long-term plans to revive the tourism industry.
"It is estimated that the hotel industry has incurred losses of around Rs 500 crore. The government must come up with relief measures to compensate this loss," HRAO Chairman J K Mohanty said.
Panda also underlined that necessary support was being extended to the hotel industry, which suffered extensive damage during cyclone Fani.
The "extremely severe" cyclone, which barrelled through Odisha on May 3, left behind a trail of destruction and claimed more than 60 lives.
Noting that Odisha is not one of the preferred destinations of foreign tourists in India, Mohanty said it was necessary to draft a long-term strategy to attract visitors from across the globe.
The short-term plan, he suggested, must include ways to ensure 24-hour power supply, immediate reconstruction of the sewerage system and installation of street lights.
Stressing that all financial institutions must be instructed to give a two-year moratorium on existing term loans, he said banks should rather lend money for the restoration and rehabilitation work.
Mohanty also proposed the formation of a high-level committee, to be administered by the tourism secretary and professionals of the hotel industry, for removal of bottlenecks on a priority basis.
"The state government must undertake promotional activities through video films, print ads and road shows in major cities to woo back tourists," he insisted.
Talking about long-term plans, Mohanty said, "The number of domestic tourists visiting Odisha would double if the state makes provisions for direct flights to Varanasi, Bodh Gaya, Pune and Ahmedabad."
The HRAO chairman also recommended the constitution of a tourism development authority for upgrading infrastructure from time to time.
"Unless Odisha has more number of star-category hotels, with modern and advanced amenities, we cannot expect increase in foreign tourist footfall," he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)