Published on : Wednesday, July 3, 2019
East India’s popular heritage tourism destination, Odisha is gearing in full swing to host famous Ratha Yatra tomorrow. Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Odisha Minister of Tourism and Odia Language, Literature and Culture, recently said that Odisha is ready to host one of India’s biggest festivals, Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra, despite Cyclone Fani ravaging the state recently.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the two-day 5th Tourism Investors Meet 2019, organised by FICCI, Panigrahi said that the state government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has set an example for the world by evacuating more than a million people to safety with zero casualty.
Odisha government helped bring back things to normal and we are back in business. On July 4, they would be holding Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra and they extend their invitation to all tourists to discover the state which is the best kept secret of Incredible India. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India said that the demand for Incredible India has been soaring with increasing number of tourists, both international as well as domestic, and the government along with private players need to work on expanding the infrastructure to cater it.
There is a high level of taxation for hotels which have a tariff of Rs 7,500 and above and we are very hopeful that that will get sorted out in the next GST Council meeting. Hopefully that will drop down to 18 per cent, Billa said, adding that the tax has not been yielding any money and was only creating bad optics. Billa further added the tourism ministry is working to bring back the hospitality sector into the harmonised list of infrastructure because there is no other sector which can create as many jobs as the hospitality sector, he said.
This year, the East Coast Railway (ECoR) launched “ECoR YATRA”, a mobile app to assist tourists planning to attend the Rath Yatra in Puri district. This mobile application will give detailed information regarding all trains going to the pilgrim town and their respective schedules during the festival. The passengers using android-based smart phones can download this application and get information regarding trains as well as other facilities offered by the ECoR during the festival to be celebrated from July 3 to 14.