Bhubaneswar:Just over a month after Chief Minister Shri. Naveen Patnaik announced the opening of the state’s tourism sector, Odisha Tourism today conducted a mega workshop on “Facing the New Normal – Opening up Hotels, Restaurants &other Hospitality Units in Odisha” in collaboration with Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management (IITTM) Bhubaneswar.
Articulating a resounding endorsement on behalf of the hospitality industry, Shri. JK Mohanty, Chairman of Hotels & Restaurants Association of Odisha (HRAO) congratulated the state government for its proactive control of the pandemic through institutional responsiveness and for being the foremost state to have conducted such a vast and inclusive awareness outreach campaign on COVID-19 risk mitigation and revival training for the tourism & hospitality sector.
Articulating the mantra for the sector, Dr Asit Tripathy IAS, Chief Secretary Odisha called upon the industry and government stakeholders to work jointly towards personalisation of services, professionalisation of practices and privatisation of facilities. “When we unitedly resolve and do not compromise on due diligence and aim for premium quality, we will ensure our presence on the global tourism map. It must be the effort of each one of us to convince tourists through our campaigns and our measures that Odisha is completely safe”, he said.
Reemphasising the importance of understanding consumer behaviours and investing in innovation and procedures, IITTM-Bhubaneswar Nodal Officer, Dr Md Sabir Hussain called hotels to redesign facility ergonomics keeping business travellers as a model case in mind. “We must focus on automation for easy access and self-reliance. Contact-less service is the way forward”, he said.
Commissioner cum Secretary Tourism Mr Vishal Dev IAS highlighted the strategic measures undertaken by Department of Tourism during the lean period. “Realising the importance of maximising the experience for domestic tourists so as to dominate the market, we have been working tirelessly to operationalise new products like houseboats, river cruises and development of road tourism infrastructure. The Eco Retreat will be organised at four diverse locations besides Konark – Bhitarkanika, Daringbadi, Hirakud and Satkosia. Our key objective is to popularise underexplored destinations throughout the state through the glamping event which has already established its brand nationally”, he said. Emphasising the significance of this campaign, Mr Dev said that the state had the opportunity to grab a large share of the national market, for which the major differentiator in promotion will be ability to inspire tourist confidence through safety assurance.
Three sessions were conducted viz. post-pandemic preparedness in the F&B industry; housekeeping protocols for safety in accommodations; personal and institutional prevention in the wake of COVID-19 emergence.