Hockey World Cup: Inadequate standard hotels raise concerns

Bhubaneswar: As Odisha gets ready to dip in hockey fever with the much awaited Hockey World Cup scheduled to begin from November 28 this year, insufficient number of standard hotels for foreign tourists has now become a major concern for the State government.

Sources said a footfall of 15,000 foreign spectators is expected during the mega sporting extravaganza but inadequate number of standard hotels for their lodging has now become a headache for the organisers.

This apart, players and delegates of 16 participating countries, tournament officials, Indian and world hockey federation officials, TV broadcasters, VVIPs will also visit the capital city during the event. Even as the State government has booked eight different star hotels in Bhubaneswar for providing lodging to the players and officials, it does not seem to suffice.

It is believed that other hotels situated in Puri and Cuttack, which has been earmarked for the occasion, will also fall short even though the Sports and Youth Services department has mentioned a long list of 300 odd hotels on its website for the purpose.

Sports secretary Vishal Dev also admitted to the shortage of hotels. “In case of teams and officials there is no issue but yes, there could be shortage of hotels in view of the large number of fans likely to visit. But we are in touch with the hoteliers and are looking into the situation,” Dev said.

Tour Operator Benjamin Simon said, “Shortage of hotels will be a big challenge because November and December are peak tourist months- both for domestic and foreign tourists. So, the government needs to form a special team to immediately resolve the issue since only two months left for the mega event.”

Former hockey player from Odisha Lazarus Barla has also expressed his concerns over the matter. “If the foreign tourists try to book hotels online and they don’t find it, they would certainly not come. Even if they visit, how are we going to provide them lodging and other facilities?” Barla questioned.