Make in Odisha Conclave, a boost to Tourism Sector in the State

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Odisha has reportedly received an investment intent of Rs 2 lakh crore in ten diversified sectors including Tourism during ‘Make in Odisha Conclave’. The tourism industry is a major booster for economic growth and Odisha had made tremendous growth this sector too.

The Odisha Tourism Policy 2016, is a step towards developing infrastructure and promoting hotel industry by providing incentives. The state government has proposed to spend Rs 82 crore for infrastructure development of the tourist sites in 2016-17. Apart from that, the government has also planned to develop the coastal tourism circuit with an investment of Rs 76.50 crore under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the central government.

The Travel and Tourism (T&T) industry is the largest contributor to employment and economy which is 9.8% of the global GDP (US $ 7.2 trillion) in 2015 including direct, indirect and induced impact (World Travel & Tourism Council). Tourism added 7.2 million jobs to the global economy, about 1 in 11 jobs globally (United Nations World Tourism Organisation – Tourism Highlights 2015).

Odisha, the soul of Incredible India has tremendous potential in tourism sector, because of its golden history, strategic geographical location, diverse demography and profound bounties of nature. Puri, the shrine of Lord Jagannath, famous for the Car festival, attracts lakhs of pilgrims round the year. The world famous Sun Temple, a UNESCO heritage sites at Konark (12th century), the temple city of Bhubaneswar (9th century) & Puri (11th century) are widely popular as the golden triangle which draws tourists, both domestic & international in hordes.

Beside this, Odisha has a long tradition of Buddhism starting from 1st century BC. The Golden Casket containing the Buddhist relics, excavated Buddhist Stupas, Monasteries & Viharas discovered at Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri & Udayagiri are famous, all over the world. The Ashokan rock inscriptions of 3rd Century BC at Dhauli where the historic war of Kalinga was fought is the testimony to the existence of strong Buddhist tradition in Odisha. In addition, as many as 200 Buddhist heritage sites have also been identified in different parts of the State.

The State has made great strides in various sectors of its economy in tune with the progressive globalization and the changing demands of the tourists to make tourism a sustainable industry in the State.

Tourism in Odisha is one of the main contributors to the economy of Odisha (13% of GDP of Odisha). The State of Odisha secured 3rd rank in terms of intensity of overnight domestic tourism, with an average of 541 trips per 100 households, as compared to the all India average 418 trips per 100 households. Therefore, the tourism intensity in Odisha is 29 percent higher than the national-level tourism intensity (National Council of Applied Economic Research, 2015).

The state government has also started a project for development of various eco-tourism spots. Around 20 eco-tourism sites have been taken up with estimated investment of Rs 100 crore over a period of five years.

The tourist footfall in eco-tourist spots in on an increasing trend over last three years. In the year 2012-13 the total footfall in eco-tourist spots was 2,76,206 which increased to 3,12,980 in the year 2013-14 and further to 3,47,965 in 2014-15. This year, more tourists are expected to visit such spots.

Reports state that, in 2014, a total 76,70,099 foreign tourists visited India and 71, 426 foreigners had come to Odisha, which is 93% of the total visitors to the country. In 2015, the number of foreign tourist inflow to India has increased to 80, 27, 133 but their number reduced in Odisha to 66,971, which is 83% of the total visitors.

The Make in Odisha Conclave is sure to boost the tourism sector in the state. With investments, the sector will generate more employment of youths in the state. Beyond doubt, Odisha has been a favourite destination of tourists across the globe for eco-tourism. The flora, fauna and the wild life has attracted thousands of tourists, the investments in developing the infrastructure facilities in the sector will further enhance the foot falls.