Odisha Plans New Tourism Policy 2016

BHUBANESWAR: In order to attract more tourists to the state, the Odisha government is formulating a new tourism policy 2016, said an official on Thursday.

The policy would provide better incentives for infrastructure development at the tourist destinations in the state.

Tourism secretary Gagan Kumar Dhal said the new tourism policy would provide incentives for infrastructure development at the tourist destinations.

Different aspects of the proposed policy were discussed at the Tourism Advisory Committee meeting chaired by chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi here.

Dhal said the tourism policy would be at par with the Industrial Promotion Resolution (IPR) 2015 that has identified tourism as a focus sector.

The new policy envisages more attractive offers to invite investments in the tourism industry.

The government would provide incentives relating to land allotment, capital investment subsidy, interest subsidy, VAT reimbursement, reimbursement of entry tax, environmental protection infrastructure subsidy and entertainment tax, said a release.

Reviewing the progress of various projects,  Padhi directed the tourism department to complete identification of the land for tourism land bank within three months.

Tourism department was asked to make the road shows and participation in international tourism promotion events more focused and outcome oriented.

Promotion of eco-tourism spots

Padhi advised that eco-tourism spots should also be advertised and popularised through domestic tour operators so as to attract more tourist from various parts of the country.

Pertinent to note that the state government has already started a project for development of various eco-tourism spots. Around 20 eco-tourism sites have been taken up with estimated  investment of Rs.100 crore over a period of 5 years.

Available data shows, there has been a constant increase in tourist footfall in eco-tourist spots over last three years. In the year 2012-13, the total footfall in eco-tourist spots was 2,76,206 which increased to 3,12,980 in the year 2013-14 and further to 3,47,965 in the year 2014-15.

This year there is an increasing trend in the rate of footfall and is expected to cross the last year.

The sites like Dangmala, Gupti, Daringibadi, Kanjiapani, Chilika and Talasari sea beach offer more interesting sites of wildlife and scenic beauty to all the tourists. It was decided to popularise these spots through various national and international tour agencies.

In the meanwhile, Home department has relaxed the restrictions regarding the tourist trips to primitive tribal areas. Notification to this effect has already been issued.