BHUBANESWAR: After signing a memorandum of understanding with Air Asia for direct air connectivity from Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lupur, the State Government is now looking forward for a tourism policy for South East Asia with special tour packages at affordable prices. This was discussed in the Tourism Advisory Committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi here today.
It was decided that specific policy will be made for promoting tour packages to South East Asia in collaboration with Air Asia. New tour packages like Jagannath trail, coastal trek, coastal cruise, cycle tours, food festivals and weekend gateways will be organised under Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC).
Branding of Odisha tourism will be done at strategic places like airports, Rajdhani Express (BBSR-DEL), Mumbai Metro, JC Daceus, Paris, Outbound Travel Bazar (OTB), Vietnam and ITB Asia, Singapore. Tourism promotion activities will be linked to upcoming international events in IFTM Top Resa, Paris, JATA Toursim Expo, Japan and International Tourism Fair (Fitur) in Spain. Odisha tourism has participated in four major international events like JATA, Japan, International Tourism Bourse (ITB) Asia, World Tourism Market (WTM), London and ITB Berlin along with other 11 national events.
Tourism Secretary Arati Ahuja told the meeting that aggressive marketing promotion activities have been undertaken during 2016-17 and Odisha tourism has been widely advertised through 10,000 seconds of air time. Odisha tourism has also made its presence in social media with 4.8 lakh twitter following and 87,465 Facebook likes.
The Chief Secretary directed the Tourism department to expedite the processes for setting up sand art museum at Puri which has been drawing increasing international attention in recent days. The tourists should be allowed to take part and practice the sand art in the museum, he said.
Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan asked the Finance department to provide budgetary support for this project. There has been a steady growth of tourist footfall in Odisha over last 7 years. While around 76.41 lakhs tourists including 50,432 foreign tourists visited the state in 2010, the total tourist footfall reached 110.62 lakhs with 67,108 foreign tourists by November 2016. Director Tourism Nitin Bhanudas Jawale said that three tour programme will be organised for senior citizens during 2017-18 under Baristha Nagarika Tirthayatra Yojana.
The meeting also discussed on working out a state specific water sports policy and carrying forward eco-tourism promotion and coordination activities.