BHUBANESWAR: The Economic Survey report for 2019-20 suggested that Odisha needs to expedite its investment in tourism infrastructure to attract more tourists and boost revenue generation.
“The development of infrastructure for tourists has enormous potential for employment and income generation, foreign exchange earnings and value addition for the State. The focus can be expanded to areas like sports and film tourism,” the survey stated.
As per the survey report, Odisha tourism has seen significant expansion in recent years with an increase in both domestic and foreign tourists. Tourist inflow has also remained impressive with an annual average growth rate of 9.25 per cent in the last five years.Around 1.55 lakh domestic tourists and1.14 lakh foreign tourists visited Odisha during 2018-19 registering a growth of 8.75 per cent and 10.4 per cent, respectively. Foreign tourists inflow was also robust with an annual growth rate of 33 per cent and 10.4 per cent in 2017-18 and 2018-19 respectively.
The report pointed out that Odisha’s tourism sector is largely driven by domestic footfall as the inflow has remained more than 99 pc of the total number of tourists visiting the State every year.Their contribution to State’s economy is also much higher compared to tourists from abroad. Earnings from domestic tourists stood at Rs 15,855 crore in 2018-19, while that from foreign tourists was only Rs 521.26 crore. The earnings from domestic tourists have increased significantly since 2013-14, the survey stated.
Foreign tourists stay for longer period and spend more on an average compared to domestic tourists. While a foreign tourist stays in the State for around 11 days, a domestic tourist stays only for 3.7 days. Similarly, a foreign tourist spends Rs 4,167, while a domestic tourist spends Rs 2,763.
Besides, the survey revealed that contribution of ‘Hotels and Restaurants’ sub-sector to Gross State Value Added (GSVA) from services is relatively small compared to other sectors.Though ‘Trade, Repair, Hotels and Restaurants’ group contributed more than 20 pc to GSVA in 2019-20, the contribution of ‘Hotels and Restaurants’ was only two per cent (Rs 3,875 crore).
The number of hotels and restaurants in the State has increased from 1,328 in 2011 to 1,906 in 2018. Odisha had 39,917 rooms and 79,978 beds to accommodate its tourists by 2018 end.
Hotels in the State have been divided into three major categories such as high spending group, middle spending group and low spending group as per hotel tariff structure and spending capacity of tourists. The share of high and middle hotels in last one decade has increased significantly from 25.7 pc of total hotels in 2009, to 39.7 pc in 2018.
“As Odisha is growing as an industrial hub, it would be beneficial to invest in middle and high segment hotels to attract business tourism and introduce greater diversification,” the survey suggested.