Odisha sees Decline in Tourist Footfall in FY2019-20

Odisha, which had been seeing a steady rise in tourist inflow from 2015-16, has now witnessed a decline in tourist footfall in the fiscal year 2019-20. While domestic tourists visiting the state declined by 3.06% in the aforementioned period, the drop for international tourists was pegged at 11.57%. Overall, the tourist count fell by 3.12% in the last fiscal.

In 2018-19, a total of 1,56,23,250 tourists had visited the state. However, due to several adverse factors, their numbers came down to 1,51,36,160 in 2019-20. Trips by domestic travellers in 2019-20 also came under the blows to 1,50,35,593 from 1,55,09,529 in 2018-19. While 1,13,721 foreigners had visited the state in 2018-19, their number decreased to 1,00,567 in 2019-20.

Earlier, statistics indicated that the rate in the arrival of all types of tourists had grown by 9.09 % in 2015-16, 8.69 % in 2016-17, 8.90% in 2017-18 and 8.67% in 2018-19.

Officials in the know primarily attributed the cause of the decline to Cyclone Fani, which had flattened the tourist town of Puri and its adjoining areas. The Category-IV storm, which hit the beach town last May, had forced the closure of the tourism industry in the ‘golden triangle’ of Puri, Konark and Bhubaneswar. This year, however, the coronavirus pandemic played the spoilsport which added to the growing worries of the hoteliers and the ancillary businesses.

“The Cyclone Fani impacted the sector in 2019-20. Major tourism in Odisha is centred in the golden triangle (Puri-Konark-Bhubaneswar). The footfall of tourists was affected between June and August after Fani. This year, COVID played havoc. We only hope that some revival is possible in the coming year. Almost 10% of employment is dependent on this sector. The state government is encouraging tourism in a big way in the coming days,” said Odisha Tourism director Sachin Jadav.