Hockey World Cup: Odisha Registers Record Tourist Inflow

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha tourism is in for good times. Domestic tourist inflow peaked 22 lakh in December while international tourist arrivals averaged around 15000 each in the last two months of 2018, tentative figures of Tourism Department suggested.

The figures cited by Business Standard in its edition on Thursday, attributed the impressive footfall to the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup hosted in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16.

Travel industry expert Benjamin Simon exuded confidence of Odisha making a record in the total tourist arrival during the fiscal as the tourism season is still alive.

“We have seen an unprecedented growth in tourist number…its a boom phase we are currently witnessing. All hotels both in Puri and Bhubaneswar are reporting full occupancy and this is huge achievement for the state,” he told Odisha Bytes.

“The flawless management of the event has sent a positive message across the global sports fraternity. In addition to the domestic tourists, embassy officials of Germany, United States and Italy are also keen to travel to Odisha. Increased flight connectivity is the icing on the cake”, he added.

Though availability of rooms still remains an area of concern, an issue which was flagged during the world cup, he said the increased tourist flow would be matched by investments in the hospitality sector. Taj Vivanta, which is coming up with a 137 room facility here, is expected to commence operation in another years time. Lemon Tree Hotels Ltd has signed a License Agreement for a 76 room property located in the capital city, Odisha under the Company’s brand ‘Lemon Tree Premier’. The Hotel is also expected to be operational by March, 2020.

An estimate by the Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) has assessed the deficit at 5000 rooms in star hotels. According to Business Standard, the state tourism department is reaching out to big players such as Hyatt and Marriott as well to set up properties in the state. “The idea is to goad these plush hotel chains to develop properties in and around Bhubaneswar on their own or through the franchise model. The presence of iconic hotel properties is expected to lure more international tourists to the state,” it said.