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Odisha to start river cruises with 5-star stay experience to promote tourism | See pics

India Today logo India Today 18-05-2022 Mohammad Suffian
Odisha is gearing to start river cruises with 5-star stay experience to boost tourism Odisha is gearing to start river cruises with 5-star stay experience to boost tourism

The Odisha government is gearing up to commence river cruises in a bid to revamp the tourism industry, which has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Odisha tourism department is all set to launch a luxury houseboat, Garuda, one of its kind, for commercial operations in the Chilika lake.

The visitors will have a five-star experience on the floating cruise, and besides this, the tour packages shall be curated for tourists and shall cover Bhitarkanika National Park and adjoining areas of Gahirmatha Wildlife Sanctuary.

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The packages will consist of an overnight stay along with full board meals, activities and cruising covering different islands in Chilika.

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LUXURY HOUSEBOAT GARUDA

On the luxury houseboat 'Garuda', there will be two floors housing two suite rooms and four premium rooms, a bar and a restaurant. An open air lobby in the upper deck will also be built for meetings and conferences and an investment of Rs 3 crore has been made.

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The houseboat has been indigenously designed, developed and manufactured in Barkul, Odisha. The project has been approved by Odisha Tourism through a single window mechanism.

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The department has received licenses and statutory clearances from Chilika Development Authority, Directorate Ports and Inland Water Transport.

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A STEP TO BOOST ODISHA TOURISM

On May 15, Sachin Jadhav, Director-Tourism gave a detailed presentation on Odisha's strategic advantages for cruise tourism in the panel discussion on 'Cruise Tourism: Success stories and Destination Development'.

He listed the steps taken by the Odisha government to develop and promote Cruise Tourism, its latest initiatives and various benefits which the government offers to investors and tour operators towards the growth and development of cruise tourism in the state.

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Notably, in order to encourage private sector investments in the area, under Odisha Tourism Policy 2016, attractive incentives both fiscal and non-fiscal are being offered.

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RIVER CRUISE OPERATIONS

In the ongoing integrated master planning initiatives for destinations like Chilika, Bhitarkanika, Hirakud, Chandrabhaga and Satkosia, the government is giving special emphasis to develop support infrastructure for river cruises like jetties, passenger terminals, amenities like restaurants, toilets, parking, etc.

For the seamless cruise movement, DoT is engaging with other line departments like Water Resources, Forests & Environment, for route demarcation, dredging, etc.

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