Number of foreign tourists visiting Odisha declining: Minister

Bhubaneswar: The number of foreign tourists to Odisha is showing a decline though the rate of domestic tourists visiting the state has marginally increased, state Tourism and Culture minister Ashok Chandra Panda said today.

Panda informed the Assembly today that Odisha’s share in the total number of foreign tourists visiting India was only 0.83 per cent in 2015 while the rate was 0.93 per cent in 2014.

Panda said though 80,27,133 foreign tourists visited India in 2015, only 66,971 of them came to Odisha.

The statistics placed by the minister said 66, 675 visitors from abroad toured various places in Odisha in 2013.

The following year, 71,426 foreign nationals came to the state and 66,971 in 2015. The visit of foreign tourists to the state dropped by 4455 in the particular year.

Interestingly, only 3,000 foreign tourists visited Odisha during Nabakalebara festival of Lord Jagannath last year, sources said.

The domestic visitors’ inflow has however, increased by 9-10 per cent a year.

As per statistics, 98 lakh domestic tourists visited the state in 2013 followed by 1.07 crore in 2014, amounting to an increase of 9 per cent annually. In 2015, the figure was 1.17 crore.

The minister informed the House that the state government has been taking several steps to woo the foreign tourists to Odisha.

A number festivals, clean beaches, road shows, dance and music festivals are being organised to attract the foreign tourists, he said.