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Odisha Plans To launch Caravan Tourism To Revive Covid-Hit Sector

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Bhubaneswar : If everything goes as planned, tourists will get a slice of caravan tourism in the state with camper vans adding delight to their travel and giving them the hotel-on-wheels comfort. The Karnataka government launched caravan tourism last month.
In a webinar organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), officials of the state tourism department said caravan tourism has the potential to woo visitors. “We are going to launch ‘Road Trips’ to attract tourists within and from neighbouring states once the Covid-19 situation improves. Caravan tourism can be an aspect of the ‘Road Trips’ product. Private players, mostly hoteliers and tour operators can purchase caravans to offer the service to tourists,” state tourism director Sachin Jadhav said in the Ficci event.
A camper van is equipped with all the necessary facilities, including seats, converter beds, television, AC, an incinerator toilet and a shower. It also has a small kitchen with a microwave and a refrigerator.
“The pandemic has forced us to redesign the concept of tourism. People may not like to travel by air and train for some months even after the pandemic comes under control. Road is the only alternative for tourists to travel with their families in their own cars or hired vehicles. This is the right time to introduce caravan tourism,” Jadhav said.
Tourism department said a draft policy note would be prepared on the modalities of the proposed caravan tourism and locations where such facilities can be offered to tourists. The department said security would be provided to tourists where they halt the caravans for overnight stay.
“We are ready to promote caravan tourism. The government should provide financial assistance and subsidy to hoteliers and tour operators to purchase camper vans. Since the hotel and hospitality industry has come to its knees due to the pandemic, the government should provide immediate support to us,” hotel and restaurant association of Odisha’s chairman J K Mohanty said at the Ficci webinar.
Tourism secretary Vishal Dev said marine drive eco retreat, which was organised at Ramchandi beach last year, would be replicated and organised at four other beaches this year. “The maiden eco retreat was a big hit at Ramchandi beach. We will organise the event at four other locations that will be finalized soon. We plan to organise in November-December,” Dev said.
The secretary said MoUs would be signed with neighbouring states—West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand—to promote interstate road trips. “Odia cuisine will be promoted and leveraged to draw tourists. We plan to conduct Odia food festivals in major cities of India,” Dev said.

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