If the number of tourists, especially foreigners, coming to the State in 2012 is any indication, Odisha tourism sector seems to have bucked a trend. There has been a surge in the number of foreign and domestic tourists coming to the State compared to previous year.
As per the statistics made available by the Tourism Department for 2012 calendar year, 64,719 foreign tourists visited the State against 60,722 in 2011; 50,432 in 2010 and 45,684 in 2009.
A total of 90,53,086 domestic tourists visited Odisha in the last 12 months, the corresponding figure being 82,71,275 for 2011. In 2010, footfalls of 76,42,047 domestic tourists were recorded and their number was 69,37,194 in 2009.
While the total number of tourists in 2011 was 83,31,979, it rose to 91,17,805 in 2012, registering an increase of 9.43 per cent.
Likewise, inflow of foreign tourists last year rose by 6.58 per cent and domestic tourists by 9.45 per cent compared to 2011.
Sources in the Tourism Department said UK and USA were the major tourist generating markets for Odisha during the last year with 9,199 and 6,311 tourists respectively, followed by France 5,385, Germany 4,861 and Japan 3,713.
“The number of tourists from France has, however, decreased as 5,402 tourists from the country visited the State in 2011. We also got 2,286 tourists from Australia, 3,290 from The Netherlands, 1,157 tourists from Switzerland and 1,526 from South Korea last year,” said an official of the department. Majority of them came for holidaying or on business or official tours, he added.
As far as domestic tourists are concerned, though the major tourist flow was from West Bengal, people from other States are also trickling down and there is a fair amount of traffic within the State also.
Tourism Department attributed the rise in inflow of foreign tourists to efforts made by Odisha Tourism in upgrading existing infrastructure and promoting its products.
“Nature’s beauty, unique temple architecture, long coastline, eco-tourism destinations have attracted tourists from all corners of the country as well as outside,” Director of Tourism HS Upadhyay said.
To promote the State, Tourism Department has been participating in almost every major tourism fairs in India and conducting exclusive roadshows in other countries as well. “This exercise will continue,” he said.
On the other hand, president of Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association (HRAO) JK Mohanty said a tourism policy by the State Government will further improve the scenario.
“Besides, Odisha Tourism needs to set up hotels across the State and not just in Puri and Bhubaneswar. Places like Bhitarkanika, Similipal, Satkosia, Chilika and Satapada, which are excellent tourist draws, do not have adequate accommodation facilities,” he said. At present, the State has 1,328 hotels with 27,291 rooms.
Inflow of foreign tourists rose by 6.58 pc and domestic tourists by 9.45 pc in 2012
UK and USA were the major tourist generating markets for Odisha in 2012, followed by France, Germany and Japan
Tourism Department attributed the rise in inflow to efforts made by Odisha Tourism in upgrading infrastructure and promoting its products