Bhubaneswar: With downward trend in covid-19 and situation under fair control of government, State now gets ready for “facing the new normal” in hotel, restaurants, hospitality and tourism industry. For the purpose, a State level workshop was organized here Wednesday in State Convention Center wherein various stake holders from government, hoteliers, tour operators and travel & tourism enterprises deliberated together on way ahead.

Initiating the discussion, Odisha Hotelier and Secretary Hotel Association of India Jitendra Kumar Mohanty said, “Odisha is the first State in the country to organize such common deliberation in a State level workshop”. He expressed the confidence that with successful containment of the pandemic in the State, Government would facilitate the hotel, hospitality and tourism industry to open up with all new normal conditions. He assured that the hoteliers and restaurants owners would ensure all covid-19 prevention norms and would provide good hygienic practices.

Addressing the workshop chief secretary Tripathy said, “Though tourism and hospitality industry faced the worst hit during the current pandemic, new positive trends have started coming up”. With 39% of its geographic area under forest coverage, Odisha is an exciting mosaic of nineteen sanctuaries, one national park, two tiger reserves, largest lake, significant number of Irrawaddy dolphins, largest wintering ground for birds, long seashore etc which offer vast opportunities for nature and eco-tourism. Because of the facilitating support of State government, tourism activities in these areas have also surged up in the State in recent years.

Tripathy added, “With positive and concerted efforts, the tourism and hospitality industry soon will overcome the shock of covid-19”. He advised all the stake holders to attach utmost importance on providing excellent experience to the guest visitors.

Tripathy said, “Tourists coming to Odisha will be the real ambassadors and promoters of Odisha tourism if they return back with best experience’. He directed all hoteliers, tour operators and hospitality providers to make no compromise in the matters of health, hygiene, safety and security of the guest visitors.

Further, Tripathy said, “Along with international tourism, Odisha is an attractive place for domestic tourism as well; and, as such all stakeholders should also focus on attracting more tourists from different States”.

The Workshop was organized in four sessions including the inaugural session. Director tourism Sachin R. Jadhav welcomed the participants while secretary tourism Vishal Kumar Dev outlined specific objectives of the workshop.

Dr Md. Sabir Hussain of Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management ( IITTM), Debasish Pattanik, Sarada Ghosh along with others experienced persons and experts from the industry deliberated on the topics like pandemic preparedness and response in hotel and restaurant industry, protocols for ensuring adequate safety measures, prevention of covid at personal and institutional level.