Bhubaneswar: The Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha on Monday expressed displeasure over non-inclusion of a single heritage site from the state in the 17 iconic tourism site list.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Union Budget 2019-20 announced that the government is developing 17 iconic tourism sites into world-class tourist destinations.
“Although Odisha has much more tourism potential in comparison to other neighbouring states, it has been neglected by the Central Government since the last 30 years resulting in lowest tourist traffic and lowest number of star category hotels,” the hoteliers wrote in a letter addressed to Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Tourism, Prahalad Singh Patel.
“The Tourism Ministry has been aggressively promoting the Incredible India Campaign but unfortunately not much is said about Odisha. Even most of the India Tourism offices abroad hardly have any tourist literature on Odisha,” the letter stated.
Highlighting the tourism potential of the state, the hoteliers said that Odisha is the only state endowed with rich cultural heritage, beautiful mountainous, the largest brackish water lake of Asia with 64 varieties of rich tribal culture, mangrove forests, wildlife, the famous silver filigree works, stone crafts, Patta Chitra Paintings, Handloom and Handicraft.
“Destinations like the Ramsar site, Sun Temple at Konark, the largest lagoon in the Northern Hemisphere ‘Chilika Lake’, the mangrove forest ‘Bhitarkanika’ which attracted large number of tourists to the state are some of the destinations which has the more tourism potential than most of the sites selected for promotion by the Government of India,” they said.
“We sincerely appeal before the Central Government to kindly review the selection procedure and look at the tourism potential of Odisha for the inclusion of at least one or two destinations of Odisha in the list,” JK Mohanty, Chairman of Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha said in the letter.