Bhubaneswar may have been a repository of cultural and architectural heritage, but are international tourists aware of its significance when they step into the Capital City? Is brand Bhubaneswar strong and going places? A latest study says more needs to be done.
A whopping 94 per cent of the tourists, who have paid a visit to Shanti Stupa or the Peace Pagoda at Dhauli Hills are not aware of Emperor Ashoka’s rock edict.
About 93 per cent do not know that the city has been a seat of Buddhism, Jainism as well as Shaivism, says the study by Local Governance Network, a forum working on urban planning and heritage conservation.
The network carried out the study to elicit perception among tourists about Bhubaneswar as a tourism destination from cultural and heritage perspectives and sought responses from 278 tourists, both domestic and international ones.
The result was an eye-opener. Close to 97 per cent of visitors did not have prior knowledge of Nandankanan Zoo, while 87 per cent did not know that Bhubaneswar is Independent India’s first planned Capital City. About 99 per cent did not know the City has a tribal museum, the study said.
An area of concern, the study felt, was that there was serious dearth of literature about Bhubaneswar and its significance.
“Look at Capitals like Ahmedabad and Kolkata which are hardsold as brands, but Bhubaneswar is lagging behind. The City is not properly marketed in and outside India about its history which is why not many are aware of its cultural richness,” Piyush Ranjan Rout, Co-Founder of Local Governance Network, said.
The domestic and international tourists also felt that there is lack of proper space as well as scope for photography around heritage sites and modern buildings of City such as State Secretariat and Assembly.
Since Bhubaneswar is the Capital, it gets visitors round the year, but it does not seem to offer any memorable cultural experience to them. Nor are the tourists getting great photographic moments which every visitor wants to capture, he said.
Many tourists felt that there was absence of recreational activities, adventure and cultural events. Besides, the City did not fare well so far as day-to-day experience of tourists was concerned.
About 87 per cent were surprised by the rude attitude of mass transport operators and 67 per cent were unhappy with the shop-keepers.
However, to its credit, 98 per cent tourists felt safe in the City.