BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to promote Odisha Tourism and attract more tourists from the western part of the country, Tourism Minister Ashok Chandra Panda on Friday urged for air connectivity between Ahemmadabad and Bhubaneswar.
Panda was addressing ‘Vibrant Gujarat’, an international level tourism mart in Ahemmadabad.
Panda said that Odisha located in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent is one of the most gifted states in India from tourism viewpoint.
The temples and monuments, lakes and lagoons, forest and wildlife, beaches and riverine, dance and music, handlooms and handicrafts, rich tribal and Buddhist heritage of Odisha attract visitors and tourists.
The state capital in Odisha has topped the list of 120 cities in the country to be adopted under the smart city programmes. Tourist arrival to Odisha is growing at a rate of 8%. The domestic tourist arrival in 2014 was 108,62,048 with a growth rate of 10.08% as compared to 2013, said the minister.
Similarly, the foreign tourist arrival to the state in 2014 was 71426 with a growth rate of 7.13% over 2013, he added.
As per the Tourism Policy, which has been launched in 2013, high-level committees at different levels have been formed for speedy and single window clearances for tourism related projects on a fast track basis.
Panda said that the Buddhist Circuits of Odisha as a niche product is crucial for the state and country.
To position it internationally, Odisha Tourism is organising an international conference on Buddhism each year and inviting scholars and tour operators from abroad.
To give a major boost to this sector, Air India has started direct air connectivity from Bhubaneswar to Varanasi for giving an opportunity to the Buddhist tourists to have a glimpse of the rich Buddhist heritage of Odisha.
Odisha Tourism is organising road shows within the country in different cities to attract the large bulk of domestic tourists to Odisha and this year ten road shows have been lined up. The state tourism has successfully organised the IATO Annual Convention and golden jubilee celebration of FHRAI.
‘Vibrant Gujarat’ was inaugurated by Anandiben Patel, Gujarat Chief Minister.