AAI asked to carry out feasibility study on the proposed international airport in Puri

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Soon after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitching for a proposal to approve an international airport in Puri, the hotelier fraternity in Odisha had come in support of the CM’s initiative.  Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) also applauded the CM for taking up the matter with the Prime Minister saying such an endeavor would do a lot of good for boosting tourism particularly in Puri and as a whole in Odisha. 

Hailing the CM”s vision as a masterstroke HARO President JK Mohanty had said that an International Airport in Puri would come in handy for pilgrims and tourists from across the world to visit the land of Lord Jagannath, one of the holiest cities in India famous for the annual car festival “Rath Yatra”.The CM had also requested the Prime Minister that the proposed Airport be named Sri Jagannath International Airport.

It may be noted here that despite an increase in traffic, the Biju Pattnaik International Aiport in Bhubaneswar can not be expanded due to space constraints. The HRAO said that the airport in Puri will not only invite foreign pilgrims and tourists but also benefit the domestic travellers who will have direct flight access to the holy city which is also famous for its pristine beaches.

 Puri can be promoted as a hub for spiritual tourism in Eastern India. The HRAO president said that The state government should take initiative to ensure that the world-famous Rath Yatra be declared a holiday in the entire country. “This will boost Odisha tourism as more people could throng Puri during the Rath Yatra. Puri can be a perfect destination for spiritual as well as leisure tourism”, he said. 

The HRAO also said that Odisha has immense potential for tourism. What needs to be done is that is to translate these potentials to opportunities. “The tourists had been flocking to states like Kerala for its backwaters, Rajasthan for deserts, Madhya Pradesh for wildlife, Utter Pradesh for various ancient marvellous historical architectural attractions, South India for temples and Goa for beaches. 

Odisha with its huge tourism potential in terms of art, craft, culture, cuisine, beaches, lakes, mountains, tribes, the richness of temple architecture, rich heritage tourism, rich Odissi dances, the tussar silk woven sarees, silver filigree works, rich stone-carved statues, sand art exhibitions, the rich eco-tourism destinations, Bhitarkarnika, the largest mangrove forest in India, is one state that has everything. Yet Odisha continues to lag behind”, he said. 

The Hotel Association also reminded the Chief Minister about various infrastructure and connectivity related issues that needed to be addressed so as to convert the potential into opportunities.

 “HRAO has already recommended various suggestions to the Government such as additional 5000 classified hotel rooms to compete with the hotel infrastructure of the other states of India, direct flight connectivity between Bhubaneswar, Bodhgaya and Varanasi to attract foreign and Buddhist traffic to the State, to have a mega Convention venue in the city to make Odisha a major Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE) destination of Eastern India, as Kerala is famous for its backwater, our Govt. could make Chilika Lake a Gold Mine for tourists and promote it for MICE / Water sports & Cruise activities, and requested for time-bound implementation of the suggestions in order to enable Odisha to compete with other states as far as tourism is concerned.”         

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