Bhubaneswar, Feb 21:

The Odisha government is planning to formulate a policy to promote tour packages to Southeast Asia in collaboration with airlines operator AirAsia.

The issue was discussed at the Tourism Advisory Committee Meeting held here under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary A.P. Padhi.

Recently, the state government signed a memorandum of agreement with AirAsia to start direct international flight operation to Kuala Lumpur.

“A specific policy will be formulated for promoting tour packages to Southeast Asia in collaboration with AirAsia. This apart, new tour packages like Jagannath Trail, Coastal Trek, Coastal Cruise, Cycle Tours, Food Festivals and Weekend Gateways will be organised under the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation,” said Tourism Secretary Arti Ahuja.

Reviewing the progress made so far, Chief Secretary Padhi said the policy would boost the tourism sector in the state.

Branding of Odisha Tourism would be done at strategic places like airports in Delhi and other important cities, Mumbai Metro and international convention centres, said Tourism director Nitin Jawale.

He said it would also be linked to upcoming major events in Paris, Singapore and Madrid.

The chief secretary directed to expedite the process for setting up a sand art museum at Puri.

It was discussed in the meeting that sand art at Puri has started drawing increasing international attention in recent days and as such, the museum be set up at the earliest.

The state government claimed there has been a steady growth in tourist inflow to the state. (IANS)