Odisha Bets Big on Tourism, Hikes Budget Allocation by 25%

The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily affected economies all over the world. This year’s budget plays a vital role in kickstarting the recovery. Odisha’s 2021-22 Budget indicates that priority will be given to the healthcare, education and sports sectors. Additionally, the state has bet big on the revival and development of the tourism sector. These developments have the potential to influence a greater footfall to the state and open up new revenue streams.

Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari has allocated Rs 942 crore for three temple projects in Puri, Bhubaneswar, and Sambalpur, which is expected to boost the already popular temple tourism in the state. All in all, there has been a 25% hike in the budget allocation, with an increased focus on eco-tourism.

The state government has allocated Rs 542 crore for the Puri heritage project under the Augmentation of Basic Amenities and Development of Heritage and Architecture (ABADHA) scheme. The state is planning to transform Puri into a world-class heritage city and for that, it intends to spend Rs 3,208 crore over five years.

Meanwhile, about Rs 200 crore has been allocated for the Ekamra Kshetra Amenities and Monuments Revival Action (EKAMRA) plan for the development of Lingaraj Temple complex in Bhubaneswar, and another Rs 200 crore for the Samaleswari Temple Area Management and Local Economic Initiative (SAMALEI) project for the development of Samaleswari Temple and its periphery in Sambalpur district.

Apart from the existing popular tourist destinations like Puri, Konark, Chilika, and Bhubaneswar, the government is looking for more prospective destinations.

The tourism outlay has been increased from Rs 401 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 500 crore in 2021-22. Out of this, an amount of Rs 349 crore will be used for the development and management of tourist infrastructure and Rs 83 crore on tourism promotion.