More International Air Connectivity between North-eastern states including Odisha and South Asia as well as South-East Asian countries will encourage growth of tourism, urged Ashok Chandra Panda, State Tourism & Culture Minister. Sri Panda was addressing the inaugural session of a conclave on South Asian Tourism and Travel (SATTE) in New Delhi.
Sri Panda said that while Odisha has an enriched history of maritime trade with countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Kampuchea and Vietnam etc, the frequency of international air services will certainly raise inflow of foreign and domestic tourists to Odisha. The activities of Tour Operators being limited to western states, should be expanded in order to have substantial increase of revenue in this sector, Sri Panda proposed.
SATTE meets at New Delhi for three days to deliberate on manifold development in this sector. Subash Goel, Chairman of Indian Tour Operators Association, Girija Sankar, Addl. Secretary, Tourism Ministry, GOI attended the meet. Tourism Minister of Philippines was also present.
Tourist inflow to Odisha is already showing an increasing trend. The no of foreign tourists to Odisha in the year 2013-14 has been about 67 thousand, rising from about 42 thousand in the year 2008-09, showing an increase of 20% average per year. Tourism activities are being diversified to newer areas like Medical, Eco-tourism, Beach, Rural, Tribal, Buddhist Tourism & Spiritual Tourism, it is said.