Conclave Session: Odisha – India’s Best Kept Secret’ ImageName

November 12, 2018 03:00 PM-05:00 PM Seminar Hall: Baitarani

Over the recent years, Odisha has managed to change its image both nationally and globally, to some extent. People earlier weren’t aware that Odisha is one of the most progressive states in terms of government policies and that we have been pioneer in many areas of business and investment. We rolled out a progressive and investor friendly Tourism Policy in 2016 which was tipped to be one of the best in the country. The policy has identified a number of sectors for investments by private sectors like hotels & resorts, amusement & theme parks, water sports, MICE tourism, wellness tourism etc.

The state has further identified Tourism as one of the six focus sectors of the state and to reiterate Hon'ble Chief Minister, Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik, our aim is to become the investment destination of choice by continuously creating and delivering outstanding opportunities for business growth, fostering all-round socio-economic development for the State and its people.

With a coastline of 480 kms, Odisha is a state with many strategic ports and waterways that could potentially lead to it becoming a premier maritime state that links South Asia with South-East Asia and East Asia. Paradip Port could make Odisha a spring-board to India's Act East policy and also strengthen maritime links in the Indo-Pacific.

37 tourism projects involving private sector investment have been approved through single window mechanism by us. Out of this, 12 projects with investment proposal of around Rs 585 crore have been cleared during 2017. The infrastructure in Shamuka project is being laid and shall soon be ready for allocation to private players which will further boost our tourism potential.

Meanwhile, large hotel brands such as Taj Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, ITC Hotels and Crown Plaza have lined up plans for putting up properties in the state. To accommodate increased flow of tourists by 2025, we need to ramp up hotel room capacity three fold through public private participation and we are focused to achieve the same.

Last year we received a record footfall of foreign tourists especially from Southeast Asia thanks to air connectivity to Bhubaneswar from overseas that helped to increase number of tourists in the State.

The number further increased after AirAsia launched direct flight from Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lumpur in 2017 connecting the Southeast Asian countries. With the new airport at Jharsugda, the only way for us is upwards. We recently organised roadshows in Malaysia and Thailand where we enlightened stakeholders about Odisha’s tourism potential and received an overwhelming response. Odisha Tourism also enjoys great presence across digital media with its Twitter page boasting of more than one million followers

For further development, some of the proposed investible tourism projects in Odisha are Eco-tourism projects at Tampara, Ganjam, 3-star and above category of hotel and resort projects at Talasari, Hotel projects at Talasari-Udaypur Beach, Eco-retreat on Sea at Gopalpur, Shamuka and Konark. This will be further boosted by the state’s focus on smart cities. Bhubaneswar already won the Smart City Challenge amongst 97 cities by the Government of India in 2016.

The biennale Make in Odisha Conclave 2018 which is to be held in Bhubaneswar from November 11-15 is a great opportunity for businessman, hoteliers from all over the world to witness the potential Odisha has and get acquainted with our investment friendly policies and environment which is reflected in the fact that out of the investment intents received, close to 65% of the projects are in various stages of approval and implementation.

This conference, built with the view of being a confluence of tourism and investors, will pave the way for collaboration between the government and tourism stakeholders keen on working in a conducive environment.

The first topic ‘Destination Odisha’ will highlight the most popular tourism products of the state like ‘The Golden Triangle’, religious tourism and highlight the investible projects of the state. While the second topic of discussion will focus on Smart City to Smart destination: Creating Odisha a platform destination.

Prominent personalities from different arenas of the tourism ecosystem will draw upon their experiences to instil life into these discussions, which are likely to result in insightful and actionable takeaways for the change-makers and enthusiasts alike.