BHUBANESWAR: The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) on Monday criticised the Centre for not earmarking a single tourist spot from the state in its proposed list of 17 sites to be developed as ‘iconic’ tourist destinations, as announced in the Union Budget 2019-20.
It appealed to the Ministry of Tourism to review the selection procedure and take into account Odisha’s tremendous tourism potential. Basing on The New Indian Express report, the association sought inclusion of at least one or two destinations from the State in the proposed list.
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It also submitted a memorandum to Union Tourism Minister Prahalad Singh Patel in this regard.
Expressing shock that not a single site from the State, which is home to World Heritage Site Sun Temple at Konark, has found a spot in list, HRAO alleged that the Centre has been denying the State its due share of limelight.
“Although Odisha has more tourism potential as compared to its neighbouring states, it has been bypassed by the Centre since the last three decades, resulting in lowest inflow of tourists and lowest number of star hotels as compared to any other States in the country,” said HRAO Chairman JK Mohanty.
Destinations like Sun Temple, the largest coastal lagoon in the country Chilika, which is also a Ramsar site and the second largest mangrove ecosystem Bhitarkanika, are some of the best sites that have immense tourism potential than any other site which has found place in the list,” he said.
He also pointed out that the Ministry of Tourism which is aggressively promoting the Incredible India Campaign, ‘unfortunately’ doesn’t talk much about Odisha during this campaign.
“Most of the India Tourism offices abroad hardly have any tourist literature on Odisha,” he added seeking a revised list of the sites to be developed as global tourist destinations.