While developing infrastructure at beach destinations like Konark in Odisha is a challenge because of the CRZ related permissions, he said that the government has identified 1,000-acre land at Shamuga for tourism development.
Mr. Vishal Dev, Commissioner-cum-Secretary – Tourism, Government of Odisha said that the government is working on long term plans to bring in strategic investment into the Tourism sector with the participation of the private sector. Speaking to media on the sidelines of the Odisha Tourism Conclave organised at the aegis of Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) in Bhubaneswar, Tourism Secretary said that while a number of infrastructure-related issues like roads, electricity, water, etc., have been settled, many destinations like Bhubaneswar, Puri, Konark, etc., are short of star-category accommodation especially at the higher end of the travel segment.
However, he said that the government has identified land banks in places like Bhubaneswar for private builders to come and invest in building hotels. Five new hotels are in different stages of construction in Bhubaneswar in three to five-star categories, he said.
Mr. Dev said that the government is in the process of setting up infrastructure there before the private investors can come and invest in projects. He said that it is important that there are different activities created around Konark to make it an overnight destination.
Terming Odisha as the most progressive State in terms of government policies, Dev said that the State has been pioneer in many areas of business and investment. He highlighted the VGF that the Odisha government extended to airlines for international connectivity, and participation with financial stake with Central Ministries in the Jharsuguda airport project and modernisation of Bhubaneswar Railway station.
When asked about the visibility and awareness, the Tourism Secretary conceded that the awareness about Odisha has been low historically, and they are trying to overcome that through publicity, campaigns, promotions, etc., at important places including airports, railway stations, etc. “We are also participating in all the international and domestic events to improve the visibility and awareness,” he added.
The Tourism Secretary said that the department is focusing on wildlife tourism, tribal tourism, etc.