In a bid to woo tourists back to Odisha amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Odisha government on Sunday launched ‘Odisha by Road’ campaign through which tourists can explore the state’s tourist circuit through its network of quality roads as people are less likely to travel by air or train during the pandemic.
Odisha tourism minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi who launched the ‘Odisha By Road’ campaign flagging off a 25 km bike rally consisting of 80 superbikes from 9 super biker groups in Bhubaneswar said the state has opened up its tourism sector for travellers.
“We plan to woo tourists to hill-stations, tribal hinterlands, beaches and let them experience the cuisine, heritage, adventure, ethnic encounters, arts and handicrafts, leisure, wildlife and ecotourism. We are encouraging tourists to visit eco-tour nature camps, OTDC properties and spend nights at such places that would help kickstart the economy,” Panigrahi said.
The minister also announced a campaign for promotion of Odia cuisine through a chain of authentic Odia cuisine restaurants named “Nimantran”. The restaurants to be run by state-owned OTDC will promote and popularize Odia cuisine.
State tourism secretary Vishal Dev said the ‘Odisha by Road’ campaign aims at letting the tourists from neighbouring states go beyond the temples and beaches circuit and allow them to explore several other destinations such as Chilika lagoon, Bhitarkanika National Park and lesser known sea beaches like Chandipur, Udaypur-Talasari and Dagara.
“We hope people will travel in small groups so as to remain safe during the pandemic. Tourists from Andhra Pradesh can come to Odisha driving through the valleys and mountains on the Odisha-Andhra border. Similarly, tourists from Chhattisgarh and Bengal too can visit the state to explore several other tourist destinations,” he said.
The tourism department has finalised 15 itineraries including hill-stations and tribal hinterlands for the Odisha by Road campaign.
Tourism department officials said the tourism activities will get more fillip from October 1 with Eco Retreat camps being planned at 5 places including Konark where it began last year. The tourism department secretary said Eco-retreat camps will be held at Satkosia, Bhitarkanika, Darnigibadi and Hirakud apart from Konark.
Last year, Odisha had started eastern India’s first ‘Glamping’ festival or Glamorous Camping at the Marine Drive-Eco Retreat on a kilometre-long stretch of Ramchandi Beach in Konark attracting high-end tourists through a mix of luxurious accommodation coupled with adventure and water sports activities.
“We plan to open 42 ecotourism destinations in the state that is managed by more than 600 forest dependent community members. Covid-19 norms will be strictly followed at the tourist places after the reopening,” said an official.
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