Bhubaneswar, 17th June 2017 (OdishaLIVE Bureau): “Tourist footfall in Odisha is steadily increasing. Tourism can only thrive when government and private stakeholders come together. The Air Asia flights have opened the South East Asia window for Odisha. We want to make Odisha the next tourism destination of India,” announced Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha as he was speaking at the valedictory session of the Odisha Tourism Conclave hosted at Swosti Premium here today.

The Chief Minister assured the stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality sector of Odisha to extend necessary support through policy and infrastructure for its holistic growth. The conclave is hosted by Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) to envision Odisha as a leading and global tourist hot spot.

The one day workshop was inaugurated by the Odisha Governor S C Jamir today morning. “Odisha has fascinating beauty of nature, art and culture. But tourism needs efforts to promote better service quality to complement improvements in infrastructure. The upcoming Car Festival, Asian Athletics Championship, Men’s World Hockey League and Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018 will surely put the state at the centre of the world stage,” he mentioned.

The conclave featured discussions on topics covering branding of Odisha, infrastructure to boost tourism, richness of eco & wildlife tourism, Buddhist Tourism Circuit and creating a tourism friendly awareness. Further, owing to the digital boom, issues like Media & Tourism, Social Media & Digital Marketing in tourism promotion were slated for dialogue. Planning and implementation ideas related to advantages of Odisha Tourism Policy 2016, planning from Smart City to Smart State and enhancing skills & training in Hospitality Education in Tourism Promotion were also discussed by the eminent panelists including stakeholders and policy makers in the day long six plenary sessions.

“Our one point agenda is to improve visibility of Odisha before tourists across the globe and to boost the tourism & hospitality sector in the state smarter enough than ever. A lot of viable suggestions came from entrepreneurs in tourism sector, hoteliers and tour operators as well as the media fraternity. We will work together with the state government and others relevant to prepare a road-map to make Odisha a most popular tourism destination in near future,” opined J K Mohanty, Chairman, HRAO.

Among others, state Tourism Minister Ashok Panda, Additional Chief Secretary R Balakrishnan, Additional Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra, Additional Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy, Principal Secretary, Tourism Arti Ahuja, Commissioner of Police Y B Khurania, Director, Tourism Dr. N B Jawale, NALCO CMD T K Chand, Air Asia GM Suresh Nair, Director, Airports Authority India, Bhubaneswar S Hota, former Chairman, ICCR Amarendra Khatua, President, Hotel Association of India, Vikram Oberoi and President IATO Pranab Sarkar were present and shared their thoughts in different sessions.

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