Bhubaneswar: Odisha government on Thursday asked the Tourism department to launch cruise service on select waterbodies in the state.
The river cruise service will be launched under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
At a meeting with industry experts and stakeholders, Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy discussed various possibilities to give impetus to the Tourism sector.
“There is a huge scope and latent market for world class river cruising in the state. It can be done in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions,” Tripathy said.
The state government is planning to develop the tourism in three major waterbodies.
“Three principal river cruise circuits can be developed on the Mahanadi river, Chilika Lake and in waterways in Dangamala reserve forest,” Tourism secretary Vishal Kumar Dev said after the meeting.
Odisha, having a coatline of 482 km, has five major rivers and waterbodies.
Bhitarkanika circuit in the Dangamala reserve forest can connect destinations including Chandbali-Aradi-Dhamra-Khola with Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary famous for the estuarine crocodiles.
Similarly, Chilika lagoon, Asia’s largest brackish water lake, can link Chilika, Kalijai-Nalabana- Honeymoon island, Mangalajodi-Satapada-Rajhans island-Satapada and Puri, officials said.
Notably, the tourism sector has taken a huge dent owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. With various sectors opening up to revive the economy, Odisha government’s move is likely to provide the much-needed resuscitation to the industry.
The Chief Secretary directed the Tourism department to obtain regulatory permissions and compliances prior to the launch of the service.
Worth mentioning, the initiative is in line with the Odisha Tourism Policy that offers fiscal incentives to projects like cruise tourism, adventure sports, water sports, and house boat where the private player will get interest subsidy for its investment.