Bhubaneswar: Putting its plans on introducing water sports and recreational projects at popular tourist destinations in Odisha in action mode, the Tourism Department on Thursday signed an MoU with Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC).
The corporation will held the department in planning and developing diverse water tourism and recreation products.
Minister for Tourism Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi said this partnership would boost water tourism in Odisha, which has already established its brand identity as India’s best kept secret.
Besides 482-km coastline and Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon Chilika, the state has eight major reservoirs, where sustainable water sports and recreation facilities can be introduced.
Water sports facilities are currently available at Tampara, Gopalpur, Barkul, Chandrabhaga and Naraj (Cuttack).
In July last year, the department had conducted familiarisation trips for houseboat and water sports operators to Chilika and Tampara lakes and Bhitarkanika and Gopalpur. Since then, it had received several single window proposals in this segment, official sources said.
The department has already invited proposals for operation and management of floating restaurants at select locations in Chilika lake, the sources added.
“Besides water sports, we have decided to introduce houseboats in Chilika, Bhitarkanika backwaters and Hirakud reservoir, which will offer the best of the State’s eco-tourism potential harmonised with adventure, leisure and experiences in local cultures and hospitality,” said Tourism Secretary Vishal Kumar Dev.
KSINC Managing Director Prashant Nair said water-based tourism will be planned and developed in the state in a structured and sustainable manner.
A technical team of KSINC will soon conduct an extensive field trip and submit preliminary reports to the Odisha government, he added.