When it comes to tourist offerings, Odisha puts forth an abundant platter with palm-fringed silver beaches, paddy fields, rivers and waterfalls, the temples of Bhubaneswar and Puri, and the famous Sun Temple of Konark. With its glorious history and indigenous tribes, Odisha is a window to Incredible India’s soul. As the monsoon season approaches its end, the Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha, is anticipating that all tourist activities will resume with aplomb.
The state aims to gradually bring its tourists back with heightened safety and sustainability protocols. In its quest to leave no leaf unturned in ensuring supreme standards of hygiene and tourist safety, the department is working in collaboration with the state’s tourism and hospitality sector through advocacy groups like the Hotels & Restaurants Association of Odisha (HRAO).
As compared to the national average of 954 cases of COVID-19 per million, Odisha fares well with less than 493 cases per million. Successfully organising the world famous annual chariot festival of Puri, the Jagannath Rath Yatra, the Government of Odisha kept a strict check and surveillance over the comprehensive preventive measures, including screening of over 2,000 servitors and about 30 police platoons for COVID-19 before deployment. Additionally, a curfew was also imposed across the city of Puri to prevent crowding.
"Every external turmoil is an opportunity for a system to recuperate, rejuvenate and evolve internally, to a better state. The tourism and hospitality sector was operationally down to zero during the lockdown, arguably the worst affected by the looming pandemic. Meanwhile, nature is at work rejuvenating its flora, fauna and diverse elements. We too strive to make the best of this silver lining by expediting the development of infrastructure on one hand, and boosting sector skills and entrepreneurship on the other. Continuous consultations with sector stakeholders are being used as a dynamic feedback system to prepare the framework for the coming years; with a view to making the sector more aesthetic in appearance, richer in experience and more resilient in functioning,” said Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Minister of Tourism, Odia Language Literature and Culture, Government of Odisha.
Taking a holistic approach towards COVID preparedness, management, employees and service providers working across the tourism spectrum are being familiarised with COVID-19 Preparedness Protocols for Tourist Destinations issued by the Department of Tourism. Prime hotels and resorts in the state have also put in place exhaustive and technology-leveraged sanitisation mechanisms to implement Safety & Hygiene Protocols and Operational Recommendations for Tourism Service Providers issued in May 2020 by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
“Given our almost seamless working mechanisms vis-à-vis Department of Tourism, we at OTDC were among the early adapters to these protocols. The practices that we put in place while servicing the lodging, boarding and transport requirements of healthcare service providers, tourists, etc. have been maintained diligently over these months. We are committed to providing a hospitable and worry-free environment to our guests”, said Shreemayee Mishra, Chairperson of Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC).
Odisha’s bounty of nature and wildlife also make it an ecotourism hotspot. Ecotourism Odisha is renowned for its acclaimed game-changing model of community managed ecotourism camps across protected areas of the state in order to protect the diversity and ethnicity. Committed to responsible tourism and motivated to ensure the trust of visitors, the workforce of Ecotourism has also been specially trained.
According to Anshu Pragyan Das OFS, DCF (Ecotourism), Forest and Environment Department, Government of Odisha, reputed institutions such as Institute of Hotel Management Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition (IHM) and Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) Bhubaneswar have been looped in by Ecotourism Odisha. The culturally and historically rich Odisha is now ready to welcome tourists with open arms while being mindful of safety and sustainability.
See odishatourism.gov.in for more.
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