Bhubaneswar, Feb 13 (LocalWire): Odisha’s tourism department signed an MoU with Kerala Shipping & Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) on Thursday for technical support in diversifying the state’s water tourism offerings.
Besides the Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, Odisha boasts of a 482-km-long coastline along with eight major water reservoirs where surveys have ascertained the feasibility of setting up sustainable water sports and recreational products such as houseboats.
In July 2019, the tourism department had organised FAM (familiarisation) trips for houseboats, water sports operators and investors from across the country to prominent destinations such as Chilika and Tampara Lakes, Bhitarkanika, Gopalpur Beach, etc.
Since then, the state has received several single window proposals in the segment and five water sports projects have been operationalised at Tampara, Gopalpur, Barkul, Chandrabhaga and Naraj (Cuttack).
The Department has also floated tenders for the operation and management of floating restaurants at selected locations in the Chilika Lake.
“To sustain the curiosity and pull-factor among tourists, we must keep innovating” Odisha tourism minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi said.
Under the 5T performance framework driven by the chief minister, the principles of teamwork and technology are the key drivers behind this agenda for transforming our tourism landscape, he said.
“Odisha has always accorded priority to collaboration over competition and our partnering with Kerala is a watershed,” he added.
“Besides water sports, we have also decided to introduce houseboats in Chilika Lake,
Bhitarkanika backwaters and the Hirakud Reservoir, which will offer the best of the state’s eco-tourism potential harmonised with adventure, leisure and experiences in local cultures and hospitality.
Kerala having achieved a position of leadership in this segment was an obvious potential partner,” said the tourism department secretary Vishal Dev.
The state tourism department has also progressed in its agenda to operationalise river cruises along the stretches of the National Waterways in the state.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India and the Odisha’s IWT Department are involved in the process of conducting detailed feasibility studies for the same.
Following the signing of the MoU, KSINC’s technical team is scheduled to conduct an extensive field trip, and submit preliminary technical reports to the Government of Odisha.
Edited by Meenal Singh