BHUBANESWAR: The ‘Incredible Odisha’ campaign is anything but successful in wooing foreign tourists to the State. Advertisement blitzkrieg in international media notwithstanding, not many foreign tourists are aware of Odisha as a tourism destination in India.
Apart from telecasting Odisha Tourism advertisement films, documentaries and infomercial through television networks like National Geographic, BBC and Discovery, the Tourism Department has been claiming participation in national and international tourism events to highlight the State’s tourism products.
Some of these events are the prestigious International Tourism Fair (ITB), Berlin, and ITB-Singapore, World Tourism Market (WTB), Leisure Moscow, Nirvan Puspagiri Festival in Bangkok and the PATA conventions.
However, a delegation of 29 tour operators from the UK, Germany, Malaysia and Thailand expressed little or no knowledge of the vast bouquet of tourist products in the State. The foreign tour operators were here to attend a conference on ‘Destination Odisha’, organised by eastern region chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Tourism Department on Monday. The tour operators visited places like Chilika and temples in the Capital on Sunday and Monday and will be going to Puri and Konark on Tuesday.
While Kalyanee Thamjaree, board member of Tourism Council of Thailand, said Odisha is unheard of as a tourist destination in India, Renu Agarwal, Marketing Manager of Asia Experience in Germany and Rupa Ray, Manager (Tours) of IATA recognised Jesal Brothers Tours and Travel Ltd, Singapore, said, “Incredible India in Germany is associated with states like Rajasthan, Delhi and Kerala”.
Manager of Tourinfo in Russia, Olga Naplylova said the only place she heard about is Konark in Odisha. “Places like Chilika, which we visited on Sunday, have good tourism potential,” she said. The tour operators expressed their interest in developing tourism ties and promoting the State’s tourism products back home.
Member of State Tourism Advisory Board JK Mohanty said the Tourism Department needs to further intensify its marketing strategy abroad and develop tourism infrastructure in the State.
Director of Tourism HS Upadhay, however, asserted that the department was doing its part to promote the State within and outside the country.