Odisha plans cruise tourism in select destinations


Odisha plans cruise tourism in select destinations

The state government in Odisha is working on cruise tourism at select water bodies, rivers, and lakes. According to reports, the state tourism body is working closely with the private sectors to develop these cruises, and to improve the tourism sector.

Reports suggest that as of now, the Odisha tourism body has decided upon Chilika Lake, Bhitarkanika, Satkosia gorge, Hirakud, and Mahanadi as the destinations where these cruises will be available during the first phase of the plan. The government would at first like to see the kind of response that the new tourism initiative is getting from tourists. Of course, many are still skeptical about going outside of their homes, and hence it may be a little difficult to attract tourists to these cruise destinations. As of now, the state tourism body is looking at potential investors, and is also in talks with cruise operators.

As per the tourism policy in the state of Odisha, the state offers fiscal incentives to various projects, such as cruise tourism, house boat, water sports, among others. The rule is in place in order to promote private sector investments, which will in turn help boost tourism.

Odisha plans cruise tourism in select destinations

There is however an opposing voice to the new idea of the state government, which is coming from the environmentalists. According to them, the cruises can have a negative impact on the water bodies. For example, the Chilika Lake is a very unique destination with a large variety of flora and fauna, and thus happens to be very fragile. Tampering with such destinations would be extremely bad for the environment. Bhitarkanika, which is another desired destination for cruise tourism, has a saltwater crocodile population that could be harmed. Not to mention the mangroves in this area.

It is only a matter of time before we find out how this plays out. While it could boost tourism, and help the state in post-COVID days, the state tourism body needs to put in a lot of work in order to protect these delicate ecosystems, so that tourism does not affect them adversely.

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