Bhubaneswar, Sep 22: In another bid for development of tourism in Odisha, Govt has decided to develop the second religious tourist circuit in the State. This has been discussed in the tourism sector review meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sri Gokul Chandra Pati in secretariat conference hall today wherein Principal Secretary, Tourism Sri Laxmi Narayan Gupta outlined the issues for discussion. It has been proposed to develop Tulasi Kshetra and Baldevjew Temple of Kendrapara, Biraja Kshetra of Jajapur, Sarala pitha of Jagatsinghpur , Lalitgiri & Ratnagiri of Jajpur and Aradi Pitha of Bhadrakh district in the religious circuit.
Chief Secretary Sri Pati has directed to connect Odisha with Budhist circuit. The department has been advised to work out the plan for a special rail coach from Gaya to Bhubaneswar in Purusottam express. The tourists coming in this coach can be provided a special tourism package through OTDC. Chief Secretary has also advised the department to explore the possibility of establishing air connectivity between Gaya and Bhubaneswar through regional air Line operators. It has also been decided to organize road-shows and promotional activities in the countries like Srilanka, Thailand, Japan and Cambodia in partnership with international tour operators.
Pointing to the new initiatives for growth of handloom and textile sector of Odisha, Chief Secretary has directed both the departments to develop a specific strategy for common branding of Odisha Tourism, Textiles and Handloom by with technical support from OMEGA team. Chief Secretary has also advised the department to promote the mega events like Toshali Exhibition, ORMAS Mela and Adivasi Mela as tourist events in coordination with various departments. Principal Secretary Tourism Sri Gupta has been advised to work out a plan for joint participation of tourism related departments in national and international tourist events.
Available data shows that there has been a constant growth in tourist inflow to the State over last 4 years. It has increased from 76,42,047 in the year 2010 to 91,17,8-5 in the year 2012 and 108,62,048 in 2014. At present a number of projects are being implemented in the State. These include the projects like light & sound show at Dhauli, Khandagiri-Udayagiri and Konak, development of Koraput-Deomali-Gupteswar- Sunabedha tribal circuit, development of Harishankar-Nrusinghanath circuit and development of Puri- Ranchandi- Prachi river front, installation of floating musical fountain at Narandra Pokhari, Puri and development of rural tourism at Sadeibareni in Dhenkanal district. Apart from this, because of State Govt initiatives, Govt of India has identified 12 cities in the State for religious tourism. Odisha has become the first State to be included under Prasad scheme. So far the State has received grant of Rs10 crs out of the total sanction of Rs50 cr under this scheme.