Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 9:
At a time when the flow of foreign tourists visiting the country is on a rise, Odisha doesn’t even manage to attract one percent of it, said Tourism Minister Ashok Panda to the Assembly replying to a questions of Rourkela MLA Dillip Ray.
Even though Odisha Government claims to have taken a number of steps to enhance tourism potential in the state, the result has been quite dismal as evident from the data produced by the Minister.
Out of the 80,16,000 foreign tourists that visited the country in 2015, only 66,971 visited Odisha. The overall share stands at 0.84 percent. While Odisha attracted 0.96 percent of foreign tourists in 2011 and 2013, the share was 0.97 in 2012 and 0.93 in 2014, said Panda.
The minister cited lack of international air connectivity and lack of direct rail connectivity to key tourist hubs of the country as the main reasons that are hampering the tourist inflow to the state.
The minister further cited that the State Government is taking a number of measures to attract foreign tourists to the state such as international air connectivity, more connecting flights to and from major cities, promotion of tourism across the country and abroad, fam trip for foreign tour operators, advertisement in mass media and provision of grants for the hotel industry.
The revenue from the Department, however, stands at 13.09 percent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) and 15.85 percent Net State Domestic Product (NSDP), Panda added.