Bhubaneswar: Maintaining that tourism sector contributes about 13 per cent to Odisha’s GDP and needs a strategic boost, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday wrote to Union Tourism and Culture Minister Prahalad Singh Patel to include two tourist places of importance from Odidha in the list of Iconic Tourist Sites of the Centre.
The Chief Minister’s letter came after not a single tourist place of Odisha found place in the list of 17 Iconic Tourism Sites to be developed by the Central Government.
Patnaik wrote, “While the people of Odisha welcome the inclusion of Mahendragiri Peak in Gajapati district, Odisha’s second highest peak after Deomali Hill, as one among 15 thematic directions to be developed under the Swadesh Darshan scheme for the “Ramayana Circuit,” the omission of Odisha in the list of 17 Iconic Tourism Sites referred to in the Budget 2019-20 has come as a surprise to the State.”
“Odisha houses a mesmerising array of tourism sites, from ancient to modern, and from manmade marvels to nature’s most captivating abodes. Konark Sun Temple, Chilika Late, Bhitarkanika National Park, Simlipal National park and Diamond Triangle Buddhist Circuit are some of them,” said Patnaik.
“Tourism sector contributes about 13 per cent to Odisha’s GDP and needs a strategic boost. Keeping in view the importance of the tourism sector for the State of Odisha, it is requested that the Government of India may consider inclusion of at least two of the above mentioned tourist places of importance in the list of Iconic Tourism Sites,” said the Chief Minister.
Notably, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting Union Budget recently announced that 17 Iconic Tourism Sites will be developed into world class tourist destinations and to serve as a model for other tourism sites. These sites would enhance visitor experience, which would lead to increase in visits of both domestic and international tourists at these destinations.