The nearly Rs 5 lakh-crore investment promises have put Orissa on the international tourism map too, says Biranchi Mishra, a senior official at the state tourism directorate. According to him, air-connectivity, which was a major bottleneck in the growth of tourism, improved in 2006 as a fall-out of industrial activities.
Mishras observations stem from the fact that in 2006, Orissa received the highest number of Korean tourists, among other foreign visitors. With 5,358 visitors, Koreans made up 13.69% of the total inbound traffic. From 654 travelers from South Korea in 2004, the traffic swelled to 2,400 in 2005 and peaked 5,358 in 2006. The Koreans were followed by visitors from the United Kingdom, which accounted for 12.9% of the total tourists during the year. Other countries from where travellers are visiting are the United States, France, Japan, Italy, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands.
However, there was a marginal drop in tourist flow from Japan and China during 2006. Tourism department officials say the slump is temporary. They are, however, quite upbeat about the fact that tourists from France, Germany, and Italy were visiting the state.
As far as domestic tourism is concerned, West Bengal continued to be the major tourist generating state for Orissa. The inflow from Bengal stood at 10.24 lakh, about 19.56% of the total domestic tourist inflow in 2006. Andhra was second, but way behind with only 2.02 lakh visitors. With 1.54 lakh visitors, Maharastra was next. The other tourist-generating states are Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and UP, from where over a lakh each visit Orissa.
Puri district attracted the most visitors. Puri town itself recorded 17.59 lakh domestic visitors and 14,627 foreign ones. Places like Satapada, Biswanath Hill, Kakatpur and Astaranga were the most visted.