Bhubaneswar: The State Tourism Department on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) to acquire technical support in planning and developing diverse water tourism and recreation products.
Besides Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon Chilika lake, Odisha boasts a 482 km coastline and eight major reservoirs and several other pristine water bodies where surveys have ascertained the feasibility of setting up sustainable water sports and recreation and tourism products such as houseboats.
In July last year, the Tourism Department had organised FAM (familiarisation) trips for houseboat and water sports operators and investors from across the country to prominent destinations such as Chilika and Tampara lakes, Bhirarkanika, Gopalpur sea beach.
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 in Cuttack.
The Department has also floated tenders for the operation and management of floating restaurants at select locations in Chilika Lake.
“Under the 5T performance framework driven by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the principles of teamwork and technology are the key drivers behind this agenda for transforming our tourism landscape. Odisha has always accorded priority to collaboration over competition, and our partnering with Kerala is a watershed”, said Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi.
“Besides water sports, we have decided to introduce Houseboats in Chilika Lake, Bhitarkanika backwaters and Hirakud Reservoir, which will offer the best of the State’s ecotourism potential harmonised with adventure, leisure and experiences in local cultures and hospitality. Kerala having achieved a position of leadership particularly in this segment was an obvious potential partner in our quest, and with this understanding, we have furthered Odisha’s agenda in cooperative federalism,” Tourism Secretary Vishal Dev.
KSINC Managing Director Prashant Nair, who signed the MoU on behalf of KSINC expressed this arrangement would help Odisha Tourism to plan and develop water-based tourism in Odisha in a structured and sustainable manner.