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How an international airport at Puri will be a game changer for Odisha's tourism sector

By Anuj Cariappa

Bubaneswar, Jan 03: In a bid to promote tourism, the Odisha government has porposed an international airport at Puri, that has potential to become a hub for spiritual, economic activities, and could also act as doorway to international destinations.

Odisha CM

An international airport at Puri would be ideal as the city is seen as a perfect weekend getaway for people living in Kolkata and the other neighbouring towns, with the most popular beach destinations in the eastern part of the country.

Thronged by beach loving tourists and pilgrims, Puri is a place which has a unique blend of both religious significance and the beauty of the beach.

Authrities believe, once commissioned, the Puri airport could be the main international airport while Bhubaneswar, which has limited scope for expansion would largely cater to the domestic flights.

In a letter to PM Modi, Patnaik on Friday wrote the Rath Yatra of Puri is a famous annual event, attracting lakhs of pilgrims from across the world and an airport in the town will help bring devotees to the Sri Jagannath Temple.

Committed to make Odisha most-preferred educational hub: Naveen PatnaikCommitted to make Odisha most-preferred educational hub: Naveen Patnaik

The proposed 'Sri Jagannath International Airport' in Puri, would also be within 40 km from Bhubaneswar besides being close to the Sun Temple of Konark, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the Ramachandi-Chandrabhaga beach provides a unique experience to travellers.

Besides, some of the historic Buddhist heritage sites like Dhauli and Ratnagiri, with a travel time of about three hours from Puri, would also attract national and international tourists.

The coastal city connects major ports in Paradip, Dhamra and Gopalpur on either sides besides deep water ports at Subarnarekha and a riverine port on Mahanadi and a chain of 12 other non-major ports. This would provide air, water and road connectivity to the entire coastline.

Puri is also linked to two Ramsar sites - Chilka Lake on one side and Bhitarkanika National Park on the other. Both these locations have huge potential for international eco- tourism.

Reportedly, there has been a 25 per cent growth in the number of air passengers at Bhubaneswar airport, while 24 per cent growth in cargo and 30 per cent growth in number of flights.

Thus a state-of-the-art, international airport in Odisha could drive state' economy and tourism. And Puri, could be and ideal choice for promoting new world economic activities, leisure and hospitality, health and spiritual centres.

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