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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The state tourism department has signed an agreement with the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) for developing water-based tourism in Odisha.

Besides housing Asia's largest brackish water lagoon Chilika lake, the state boasts of a 482-kilometer coastline and eight major reservoirs, apart from several other pristine water bodies where surveys have ascertained the feasibility of setting up water sports and other tourism ventures, officials said.

The tourism department had in July last year organised familiarisation trips for houseboat and water sports operators, and investors from across the country at prominent destinations such as Chilika and Tampara lakes, Bhitarkanika and Gopalpur sea beaches.

Since then, the state received several proposals, and five water sports projects have been operationalised at Tampara, Gopalpur, Barkul, Chandrabhaga and Naraj (Cuttack).

The department has also floated tenders for the operation and management of floating restaurants at select locations in Chilika lake, said Tourism Minister JP Panigrahi.

"Odisha has always accorded priority to collaboration over competition, and our partnership with Kerala will help boost water tourism in the state," he said.

The state government has decided to introduce Houseboats in Chilika lake, Bhitarkanika backwaters and Hirakud reservoir, said tourism secretary Vishal Dev.

"Kerala having achieved a position of leadership in this segment, was an obvious potential partner in our quest," he said.


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