By J.K Mohanty, MHCIMA
JK MOhanty

Hospitality and the tourism Industry world over has been battered and badly hit by the COVID-19. It will take at least a year for the tourism business to get back to full fledged operations. Countries have blocked entry to foreigners, airlines have shut due to no demand, hotels have lost huge revenue, some of the employees have also lost jobs and some are suffering due to low salary, travel agents and tour operators have lost badly and will take a lot of time to swing back into action.
In spite of all this and the continuous lockdown announced in Indian and other countries, the people in general have become restless and want to travel. A survey made by the Condé Nast Traveller it is estimated, 81% of the Indians want to travel to tourist destinations out of this 86% are open to traveling within India on vacations this year, with 64% preferring a destination in the mountains; 56% choosing a beach, and 56% choosing a place anywhere in nature.
Wellness tourism is another major source market for domestic travellers. According to a survey by the Global Wellness Institute, it is anticipated that during this COVID 19 scenario, wellness tourism will be topmost priority for everyone while planning for a vacation.
In spite of all this I believe Odisha with its huge tourism potential in terms of art, craft, culture, cuisine, beaches, lakes, mountains, tribes, the richness of temple architecture, rich heritage tourism, rich Odissi dances, the tussar silk woven sarees, silver filigree works, rich stone carved status, sand art exhibitions, the rich eco tourist destinations, Bhitarkarnika, the largest mangrove forest in India, is definitely going to bounce back faster.
Chilika Lake – the largest lake in Northern Hemisphere and one of the most pristine locations in the country has become most preferred Eco / Bird lover’s destination within a short span of time. It has been widely acclaimed across the globe and has become a major tourist destination of the State. Chilika Lake attracts large number of migratory birds from Siberian Countries during the winter season and throughout the year the Irrawaddy Dolphins are an attraction for the tourists. Chilika also exporting highest quantity of prawn, crabs and other seafood and the guests staying in Swosti Chilika Resort enjoy the fresh seafood available in the resort.
Presently the high spending Indian tourists have been going abroad to various countries on holidays spending around Rs.1.65 lakh crore in different foreign countries. As many of the foreign tourist destinations have taken decision to close the barrier between the countries, so travelling outside India would become difficult for Indian tourists to go and spend abroad.
This is an opportunity for boosting and shooting up the domestic tourism market because in India with per capita income of the people in recent years has gone up and millennium group which has huge surplus income, would definitely venture out to places of tourist interest within India. It will definitely benefit the travel tourism and hospitality sector of India.
With such a big ready domestic market, the Government must come forward to invest in the tourism infrastructure throughout the country. The State Governments need to come forward and extend attractive incentives for people to come forward and invest in the tourism infrastructure such as hotels, resorts, Eco tourism, forest tourism, MICE tourism, water sports, ropeways, golf tourism, etc.

J K Mohanty, MHCIMA
Chairman – Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha & IATO Eastern Region
Co-Chairman – FICCI National Tourism Council
Member – State Tourism Promotion Council & Tourism Advisory Committee, Govt of Odisha
Hony. Secretary – Hotel Association of India
CMD – Swosti Group