Odisha, which thrives on religious tourism, is working hard to develop beach tourism. Odisha will be soon competing with Goa and Kerala in attracting foreign as well as inland tourists. The Odisha government plans to make the state a top beach destination of the east.
“Odisha is not just a hot spot for pilgrimage, but it is also a premier beach destination. One of the eight blue flag beaches is in Odisha and we are striving towards developing five more,” said Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Odisha’s minister for tourism and culture. He was addressing the audience during the inauguration of the ‘Odisha Tourism Roadshow’ in Jaipur.
“Karnataka is the only state that has two of its beaches with blue flag certification, our endeavour would be to seek the certification for five more such Odisha beaches,” said Panigrahi. He added that Odisha’s culture is more than 2,000-year-old and it is renowned for its classical dances – Odissi and Gotipua.
The Odisha government chose Jaipur for promoting its tourism as Jaipur is a major tourism destination attracting a large number of foreign tourists.
Tourism in Odisha has come to the forefront with the revamping of Puri Jagannath and Lingaraj temples. Notably, Panigrahi also threw light on the post-COVID tourism plan. He said the focus will be on developing cruise tourism, homestays, heritage hospitality, as well as upgrading ecotourism facilities in the state, in 2021.
Odisha’s Golden Beach
Odisha’s Golden Beach is among the eight beaches in the country that has been awarded the “blue flag” certification by an eminent jury which comprises members of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The beaches selected for the blue flag certification include Gujarat’s Shivrajpur (Devbhoomi Dwarka) and Diu’s Ghoghala beaches. The other beaches are Kappad (Kerala), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
The Union government last year issued an Extraordinary Gazette Notification declaring a list of activities and facilities that would be permissible in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas of certain beaches, which have been identified for obtaining the ‘Blue Flag’ certification.
The ‘Blue Flag’ certification serves as an eco-label. The certification is awarded by the Denmark-based non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which sets stringent environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria that applicants must meet and maintain. It is awarded annually to beaches and marinas in FEE member countries.
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