Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government is planning to start river cruises on select water bodies in public-private partnership (PPP) mode to give a fillip to the tourism sector.
Following a meeting with industry experts and stakeholders, Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy on Thursday directed the tourism department to start the cruise service in three major water bodies in the state.
“There is a huge scope and latent market for world-class river cruising in the state. It can be connected with many eco-spots and refill the economic activities in the sector. It can also be done in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions,” Tripathy said.
Tourism Secretary Vishal Dev outlined the plan to develop three principal river cruise circuits in Mahanadi, Chilika Lake and Dangmala reserve forest, including the national water way-5 from Dhamara to Paradip.
Bhitarkanika circuit with 5 nights and 6 days cruise can connect spots like Chandbali-Aradi-Dhamara-Khola and other nearby spots. Similarly, Chilika circuit with 3 night and 4 days cruise can connect Chilika, Kalijai-Nalabana-Honeymoon island-Mangalajodi-Satapada-Rajhans island-Satapada and Puri, an official said.
The Chief Secretary assured that the state government would provide all facilitating support for this activity. State PPP cell has been advised to work out the details in consultation with the Department of Tourism and Odisha Tourism Development Corporation. He also asked the department to coordinate with Inland Waterways Authority for statutory requirements.