Orissa targets 15 per cent growth in tourists

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Bhubaneswar May 6 (UNI) The Orissa Government was targetting to achieve a 15 per cent growth in the number of tourists visiting the state, Minister of Tourism Devi Mishra said here today.

Mr Mishra said the number of tourists visiting the state was growing at the rate of ten per cent per annum but ''we have targetted to achieve a growth rate of 15 per cent''.

The Minister said, '' We have the potential and are developing the infrastructure to achieve the goal. '' At present 40,000 foreign and five million domestic tourists were visiting the state, he informed.

The Minister said the Orissa Government would soon launch an interactive portal to woo the tourists to the state.

The portal, he said, would be fully operational within the next three months.

The portal, being made at a cost of Rs two crore, would help the tourists interact, get information about the places they would visit, book rooms and avail other facilities.

The government, he said, hoped to generate revenue from the portal by inviting the hoteliers, tour operators and government to advertise their products through it.

The Minister said three international electronic media channels - BBC, National Geography and Discovery - were roped in to advertise about various tourists spots in the state to woo tourists from France, Italy, Germany and other European countries.

For the first time the state would host the Indian Association of Tour Operators' conference to establish Orissa as a top tourist destination.

The conference is scheduled to continue for three days beginning August seven, he said.

The government had also planned to hold talks with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and requested its members to visit Orissa.

Mr Mishra said, '' We have got good response from them. '' A team from the Orissa Tourism department is scheduled to meet the PATA members during their conference, slated for Hyderabad in September next.

Mr Mishra said Nandankanan, Deras and Chandaka were included in the destination development plan to make these places ideal tourist spots.

UNI BD SJC DB1711

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