Bhubaneswar: Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) celebrated its 40th Foundation Day at Panthika in Khandagiri here, Tuesday.
On the occasion, the OTDC team headed by new chairman Shreemayee Sweta Snigdha Mishra planted saplings at Panthika and 21 other OTDC-run Pantha Nivas premises.
Mishra said that the aim of the plantation is to make the Pantha Nivas pollution free. “Apart from sapling plantation, we have also installed a suggestion box at every Pantha Nivas for the tourists. We want to give special attention to feedback mechanism. I will take personal interest to ensure that the foreign as well as domestic tourists give their feedback through a proper channel so that we will come to know about the dark spots in the sector and work towards eradicating them,” she said.
On the occasion, actor and former MLA Akash Das Nayak said that OTDC must promote more and more eco-tourism in the state and appreciated the idea of plantation drive and suggestion boxes.
The OTDC chairman said, “With the inflow of foreign tourists to Odisha through the Hockey World Cup, the state has been exposed to the outside world. The potential of such exposure would be tapped. “Everybody saw how the OTDC played a key role when the foreign players and delegates came in good numbers to Bhubaneswar during the Hockey World Cup. We would now like to scale up that potential.”
The Odisha Government has plans to develop eco-tourism and palace tourism to attract more tourists and hopes to see 2.5 crore visitors by 2020.
But the main problem at present faced by the tourists to the state is lack of safe places to stay, especially the bad condition of Pantha Nivases. Except the one in Bhubaneswar and Puri, there are not enough rooms in other Pantha Nivas complexes. Due to lack of proper maintenance of Pantha Nivas complexes in the state, the tourists have to take private rooms where they face problems.
The OTDC’s official website claims that the organisation is a Government of Odisha undertaking operating the largest chain of hotels in the state under ‘Panthanivas’ brand. It provides one-stop travel solutions to the tourists visiting the state. But the reality is different.
Mishra said, “We will have a meeting with senior officials and after getting ground reports, a roadmap would be prepared on the issue.”
OTDC is operating 21 hotels in the state. All its hotels are strategically located, well-maintained and are moderately priced. It also operates sightseeing tours from all important Pantha Nivas hotels on regular basis to nearest tourist locations, the department sources said.