Odisha seeks international connectivity to boost tourism sector

New Delhi: Odisha Tourism and Culture minister Ashok Chandra Panda today requested the Centre to set up a Tagore Cultural Complex, Odissi Dance Museum at Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre and also an International Museum at Shri Jagannath Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya in Puri.

He also urged the Centre to facilitate international air connectivity to Bhubaneswar in order to boost tourism sector in the State.

He further requested Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma to initiate steps for branding of Nabakalebar festival scheduled to be held in July this year at Puri and release of funds worth Rs 8 crore for eight projects in the State. Panda also urged inclusion of places of Buddhist interest in the State in the ‘Swadesh Darshan’ planned by the Centre.

Meeting Sharma and Union Civil Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju here, Panda said though Bhubaneswar was declared an ‘International Airport’ in 2013, the Centre is yet to facilitate international flight operations from the airport which eventually is hampering the State’s tourism industry.

He urged extension of the Mumbai-Dubai Air India flight to Bhubaneswar and allowing other flight operators to start commercial operations from the airport.

“Connectivity is an important factor to facilitate the growth of tourism… Although Bhubaneswar was declared an international airport in 2013 and has a new state-of-the art terminal, there is no international flight from the airport till date,” he said.

Panda said the Union ministers assured him that the demands of the State were genuine and promised all possible help.