Odisha, West Bengal to Sign Pact to introduce All-inclusive Package Tours
With the tourism industry slowly picking up pace post the COVID-19 lockdown, neighbouring states Odisha and West Bengal have joined hands to facilitate road tours between Kolkata and Odisha’s key tourist destinations.
The first of the three road circuits – deep through the forest route – explore the mangroves as it carves its way from Kolkata to Bhitarkanika via the Bichitrapur Mangrove Sanctuary and Chandipur in Balasore district. This four-night, five-day trip plan spreads its itinerary across the Bichitrapur sanctuary, the Talasari beach, Chandipur’s receding beach in Balasore district, the Aul Palace and the Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapada district.
The second package, titled ‘The Trail of Cascades-Keonjhar’, also starts from Kolkata and ends in Keonjhar. This five hundred kilometer road trip, a three-nights four-days plan, covers the Bhimkund waterfall, Sitabinji caves’ fresco paintings, the terracotta crafts village at Ghatagaon, the Gundichaghai and Sanaghagara waterfall and the Badaghagara and Kanjipani ghat.
The last offering of the packages, christened ‘Tiger Trails and Royalty’, covers 470 kilometres and takes the tourists to the Belgadia palace of the Bhanja dynasty, the Similipal Tiger Reserve, the Sitakund waterfall and ecotourism zone, Barehipani (India’s second-highest waterfall) and Nawana valley in Mayurbhanj district.
Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Odisha’s Tourism Minister, said, “Tourism is one of the main areas of focus for the state government. During the pandemic, Odisha Tourism took the opportunity to conduct extensive background work to revive tourism and the results are there to see.”
He further noted that a memorandum of understanding would soon be inked to boost inter-state tourism. “Odisha receives 14% of its tourists from West Bengal. Similarities in culture and cuisine are the highlight of the relation between the two states. A memorandum of understanding signed for the joint promotion of tourism between the states will surely boost the tourist traffic,” Panigrahi added.