BHUBANESWAR: TO cash in on the ongoing picnic season and the fact that half of the domestic tourist traffic is from the State itself, the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) has decided to give a boost to 'picnic tourism' in a big way.
For this, the OTDC has zeroed in on popular picnic spots like Dhauli, Panchalingeswar, Talasari (Chandaneswar), Satapada, Taptapani and Barkul. Besides, wellknown, but poorly maintained picnic spots across the State will get a facelift soon.
"In view of the increasing 'picnic tourist' traffic at the draws like Dhauli, Barkul, Chandaneswar and Taptapani, we have decided to set up picnic 'pindis' with drinking water facilities along with good illumination and parking lots. At the same time, the accommodation capacity of the Panthanivases is being augmented to cater to the heavy inflow," said MR Patnaik, General Manager, OTDC. Besides, recreational activities, including boating, would be introduced wherever necessary, added Patnaik.
As per National Sample Survey data on tourism, over 70 per cent of the tourist traffic generated from within Orissa is of oneday duration that means visiting a place and returning on the same day itself. This reflects the high volume of picnic tourism in Orissa.
OTDC is also planning to reopen the Lulung Panthanivas, which was closed down due to Maoist threat, at Similipal for both foreign and domestic tourists. OTDC Chairman J Mahapatra held a series of meetings with the district administration recently to this effect, said Patnaik.
As per a Ministry of Tourism report, poor infrastructure facilities, including drinking water and illumination, at highprofile tourist spots in the State have made nighttime leisure travel and summer excursions unfeasible. Though late, the move by OTDC is seemingly in the right direction and would provide the much needed impetus to tourism, said an expert.