Bhubaneswar: Active investor facilitations and Odisha’s progressive Tourism Policy have helped welcome global hospitality brands and amusement park with investments worth over Rs5,000 crore, said Tourism Minister Aswini Kumar Patra, Saturday.
Addressing media here, Patra said despite the Covid pandemic, the state has witnessed a domestic footfall of 37,42,221 and an international footfall of 2,269 tourists in 2021, which is expected to increase further.
Despite global pandemic like Covid and natural calamities like floods and cyclones, the tourism sector in the state has made a quick recovery. This is reflected with the entry of leading global hospitality and amusement park brands in the state with investments of more than Rs5,000 crore, he said.
Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Tourism, Surendra Kumar said that the budget of the Tourism department in 2022-23 is Rs 660 crore in comparison to Rs 2.67 crore in 2000-01, which is an increase of 246 percent or which conveys an focus being given by the state towards the tourism sector.
He further stated that the state has witnessed a massive growth in tourist footfall over the last 23 years. The state welcomed 28,88,392 domestic tourists and 23,723 international tourists in 2000, which peaked in 2019 to 1,53,07,637 domestic tourists (increase of 433 percent) and 1,15,128 (increase of 385 percent) international tourists till the onset of Covid pandemic.
The expansion of a highly successful glamping festival, Eco-Retreat Odisha, from one location in 2019 to seven unique ecotourism destinations in the state has taken place by 2022. The destinations are Satkosia, Bhitarkanika, Hirakud, Daringbadi, Putsil and Sonapur apart from Ramchandi Beach in Konark.
Launch of water-based recreation at the Tampara Lakefront Project in Ganjam and Silver City Boat Club at Mahanadi river in Cuttack, which provides tourists with recreational facilities such as water sports, Kumar said.
In 2016, Baristha Nagarika Tirtha Yatra Yojana was launched by the Chief Minister. Under this scheme, pilgrimage tours to various parts of the country have been provided to more than 19,000 senior citizens of BPL families till date.