Declining tourist inflow: Govt to lift restrictions

Bhubaneswar: In an effort to boost tourist inflow, the State government will lift restrictions on movement of foreign tourists in tribal-dominated areas of the State. The restrictions which were imposed two years back has affected the inflow of tourists prompting the tourism department to consider granting relaxation.

Notably, on March 18, 2012 two Italian tourists were abducted by Maoists from the Kandhamal-Ganjam border. On July 7, 2013, the State government imposed restriction on movement of tourists in far flung tribal areas. According to experts, these events have adversely affected the tourism sector as tourist inflow declined.

As per statistics, in Kandhamal, where the foreign tourists were abducted, no foreign tourists have visited 5 of the 6 tourist spots of the district since 2012. Only 379 foreign tourists visited Phulbani in 2013, while it declined to 67 in 2013. Foreign tourist inflow to Koraput and Rayagada has also declined.

With the situation turning grim, the State government is planning to revisit its decision of imposing restrictions. In this regard, a committee has been formed under the chairmanship of Home Secretary. The committee will review the imposed restrictions and submit recommendations to the State government.