Although Odisha has all the attractions including a 480-km coastline, it gets less than 1% of all the foreign tourists who visit India. As per reports, a total of 71,426 foreign tourists visited Odisha in 2014.
But all that is going to change in the coming years if the tourism department of Odisha succeeds in its plans to build a better brand of Odisha and attract foreign tourists to the state.
According to reports, the state government is in talks with Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia to start direct flight operations between Bhubaneswar and top cities of Southeast Asia.
Odisha Tourist Officer and former India Tourism (Paris) Assistant Director, Dr R K Pattanayak told PTI that their department is trying to get direct connectivity to Southeast Asian cities including Bangkok, and AirAsia is very much interested on that. However, talks are on and nothing is finalized as of now. AirAsia wants to connect to the Buddhist countries including Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Japan, to increase the footfalls of foreign tourists.
As per reports, an AirAsia team recently visited Biju Patnaik International airport and took stock of the infrastructure, passenger traffic and commercial prospects of the airport to get firsthand knowledge about the commercial viability of flight operations at the airport. The delegation also held talks with Odisha Chief Secretary G C Pati and airport authorities.
The Odisha government has already written to the central government to connect Bhubaneswar to Bodhgaya and Sarnath to woo foreign travelers to visit Buddhist sites in the state.
The government plans to double the footfalls in next five years. Plans are afoot to deploy professional agencies to promote tourism in print, electronic and cyber media, travel fairs and road shows to create a brand image of Odisha. The Odisha government conducted a roadshow in the city to attract domestic tourists.
Courtesy: New Indian Express