‘Too Early To Assess Loss To Odisha Tourism’: Dev

The state tourism department has been forced to play a waiting game as it keenly observes the coronavirus crisis unfold day-by-day. “It’s too soon to chart out a revival plan”, said tourism secretary Vishal Dev. As these might still be early days of the pandemic, the tourism department is yet to assess the financial loss incurred by Odisha Tourism.

In a teleconference with representatives of the hotel and restaurant association of Odisha (HRAO), Dev assured to extend his full support to the hospitality industry.

“I interacted with the HRAO functionaries and assured them to look into their suggestions. It is too early to assess the loss to Odisha tourism. We have received several proposals from the HRAO. The government will definitely take steps to bring tourism back on its feet,” said Dev.

The HRAO has sought assistance from the government with various demands such as a one-year moratorium on payment of EMIs, working capital, loans, and overdrafts, as well as a waiver of state goods and services tax till the situation improves.

“We requested the state government to give us financial assistance (interest-free) from Odisha labour welfare fund to pay salaries of our staff in hotels for the next six months,” said HRAO chairman J K Mohanty.

“We have proposed the creation of a COVID-19 task force, consisting of 5 or 6 members from HRAO to interact with the government on post-lockdown revival packages. We also requested the government to provide personal protection equipment (PPE) to hotels,” he added.