Bhubaneswar: Odisha Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal inaugurated 4th Odisha Tourism Conclave in Bhubaneswar. On this ocassion The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) on Wednesday urged the Union Government to boost tourism infrastructure and hotel industry so that people become interested to move as tourists within the country and, thereby, the outgo of foreign exchange can be contained.
Addressing the 4 th Odisha Tourism Conclave, inaugurated by Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal, HRAO chairman JK Mohanty made this suggestion to the Government in the presence of Union Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi and Ministry of Tourism Additional DG Rupinder Brar, among others
“All countries are trying to take more Indian tourists. Last year, Thailand had 22 per cent growth in Indian tourists, Maldives achieved 96.4 per cent growth, Dubai 13 per cent, Japan 14.6 per cent and Australia witness 12 per cent growth in its tourism inflow from India. India has been in the top 10 source markets of major tourist destinations of South East Asia,” said Mohanty.
He suggested that in order to give a faster boost to the growth of tourism industry and infrastructure every department of the Government must be involved in allocating funds.
Further, GST of 28 per cent charged on rooms above Rs 7,500 fails India to compete in the international tourism market specially in South East Asia where the taxes are low and hotels are cheaper in places like Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong etc, he said.
Mohanty said although Odisha has a huge tourism potential, compared with its neighbouring States, it has the lowest tourist traffic in eastern India with the lowest number of star category hotels.
“We urge the Union Minister for air connectivity with Jeypore under the UDAN Scheme, to include Sun Temple, Konark and the Buddhist circuit under the Iconic destination list and to construct 480-km coastal highway and a ring road around the Chilika Lake,” demanded Mohanty.
He suggested to the State Government to establish a Tourism Development Board for monitoring continuous tourism infrastructure development, including game parks, water sports in lines with the Disney World or Essel World. He said there should be direct flights to-and-fro Biju Patnaik International Airport and Kuala Lumpur.