By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, September 27, 2020: The Odisha government has announced o reopen all tourist destinations from October, more than six months the COVID-19 pandemic forced their shutdown.

The date for reopening of tourist destinations, however, has not yet been announced.

“We have decided to reopen all the tourist spots from October with strict adherence to health safety guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tourism Minister J P Panigrahi said on the eve of a programme organised to celebrate ‘World Tourism Day 2020’.

The Tourism department has prepared a master plan to promote various destinations in the state to attract tourists.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik in a written message on the occasion of World Tourism Day invited visitors to the state promising them a healthy stay. “I welcome you all to Odisha as we open the state for tourism. I look forward to giving you a safe, pleasant and comfortable experience during your stay. Ensuring the health and safety of all visitors to the state is paramount for us. We are confident that our initiatives of risk mitigation training and dissemination of Covid-19 health and safety protocols will ensure this.”

Patnaik also launched ‘Odisha by Road’ campaign – an initiative aimed at reviving the pandemic-hit tourism and hospitality industry. “We are launching the ‘Odisha by road’ campaign with the Kalinga Riders programme, where we invite tourists from neighbouring states as well as within Odisha to explore the tourist destinations by road.”

“Odisha’s treasure of timeless monuments, heritage, idyllic natural beauty, captivating landscapes, diverse flora & fauna are a travellers’ delight. On #WorldTourismDay, reiterate commitment to unlocking its vast potential in a post-pandemic world,” Naveen also tweeted.

He also highlighted the award-winning initiative of ecotourism nature camps, which was run successfully for five years.

This was in line with the ‘tourism and rural development’, the theme for this year’s World Tourism Day, he said.

The chief minister also launched an initiative to open ‘Nimantran’ restaurants across the state to promote authentic Odia cuisine.

These eateries will be managed by the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation, an official said.

“Three restaurants will be opened in Bhubaneswar, Puri and Sambalpur in the initial phase of the programme and three Food-on-Wheel mobile vans will be deployed in Bhubaneswar and Puri,” he added.

Tourism director Sachin Jadhav said the government would organise eco-retreats or glamping events at Badmul (Satkosia), Nalitapatia (Bhitarkanika), Daringibadi, Hirakud and Ramchandi (Konark) between December 2020 and February 2021 to attract tourists.

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