BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) on Thursday tied up with South Korea-based tourist operator Center Tour Co., Ltd to promote tourism potential of the State, in particular the Buddhist sites.
A three-member delegation from South Korea comprising Hoon Sang Park, CEO of Center Tour, Hong Ki Kim, international attorney and consultant with Korean Bar Association and Yuzi Yeoung, advisor to Center Tour, visited various sites in the State in the last one week to study and assess tourism potential of the places. It also visited Kapileswar village near Bhubaneswar which is being stated to be the actual birthplace of Lord Buddha and Gajapati housing Padma Sambhav Mahavihar, South Asia’s largest Buddhist monastery.
The team along with the help of OTDC would develop a week-long tourism package for Korean nationals to explore the historic, Buddhist and eco-tourism sites of Orissa. Places in the package will include Bhubaneswar, the Diamond Triangle consisting Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri and Udaygiri, Konark, Chilika, Rambha, Similipal Tiger Reserve, Chandipur and Talasari beaches.
However, the main purpose would be to bring in a dedicated number of Korean Buddhists to Orissa where Buddhism is stated to have originated, said OTDC Chairman Jyotiskar Mohapatra. “International tourists including those from Korea have always been heading to Bodh Gaya but not many of them know that Buddhism originated in Orissa and it is here where propagation of the religion began,” he said.
Mohapatra added that the package would attract as many as 10,000 to 15,000 Korean tourists every year and this would bring in a revenue of a minimum of Rs 2 crore. Beginning this year, the package will be open from October to March. Mohapatra said OTDC is in talks with Kingfisher Airlines to facilitate air connectivity to Orissa for the Korean tourists.
Center Tour CEO Hoon Sang said: “Initially, we thought of limiting the tour package to just Buddhist sites in Orissa, but after visiting places like Chilika and Similipal we think the Korean tourists would be at a loss if they do not see these places.” He said that considering popularity of the package, Gajapati would be included in future.
This is for the first time the OTDC is tying up with any foreign tourist operator for promotion of State’s tourist places.