Tourism has been recognised as an industry in Odisha and a sizeable revenue is earned for the State from domestic as well as foreign tourists. The idea of tourism was first mooted by the Government during the 3rd Five Year Plan. It was revamped during the 5th Five Year Plan. The creation of Department of Tourism, Govt. of Odisha dates back to 1973. There have been modifications from time to time as regards the sphere of function of the Department. The Department of Tourism and Culture has been functioning in the present shape since 1995. The Odisha Tourism Development Corporation was created in March 1979 and it was incorporated under Companies Act in September 1979.
Form both the sides, Government as well as Corporation, thrust was given on the modernisation of the sight seeing spots of Odisha. The spots are generally Konark, Puri, Nandankanan, Chandipur and other tourist spots having a close proximity with the capital city. At the initial stage, with a meagre budget, the Department could not cope with the pressing demands of tourists. Later, the Government decided to streamline and spread its activities not only to coastal districts but also to Western Odisha where tourist spots are also attractive.
Places of natural beauty are in abundance in Western Odisha. The natural stream and forest resources at Harisankar in Bolangir moves the heart of the tourists. Equally Nrusinghanath presents a panoramic view. The deity of Nrusinghanath sitting in the shape of a half-human and half-lion form tearing apart Hiranyakasipu against the backdrop of a stream is a scene to witness. Of course, now a days, both the Department and Corporation have swung into action to create infrastructural facilities for the tourists. Apart from those two natural spots, Kalahandi district is endowed with the wealth of forests with rare species of black tigers, a natural water fall at Rabandar and a host of temples situated at the peak of mountain hills at Bhawanipatna. These are also places of tourists importance. The Patala Ganga spot at Nawapara District is also a place of attraction for tourists. Ushakothi, Hirakud and Budrama in Sambalpur district attract the attention of tourists. Similarly, the Khandadhar Waterfall in Sundargarh district is also a tourist spot. The Mahanadi and the Tel river in Suvarnapur district present beautiful natural scenes and the confluence of the two rivers present a memorable sight.
|Bolangir||Bolangir, Harishankar, Patnagarh, Ranipur, Jharial, Jogisarada, Turkela and Saintala|
|Bargarh||Bargarh and Nursinghanath|
|Deogarh||Pradhanpat (on the outskrit of Deogarh Town)|
|Jharsuguda||Jharsuguda, Viramkhol, Brajarajnagar|
|Kalahandi||Bhawanipatna, Ampani, Phurli -jharan, Karlapat, Asurgarh, Belkhandi,Gudahandi, Junagarh and Thuamul Rampur|
|Nuapada||Nuapada, Budhikomna, Yogimatha, and Patalganga|
|Sambalpur||Sambalpur, Hirakud, Huma, Chiplima, Ushakothi & Gudguda|
|Sonepur||Sonepur, Charada of Binka (Papaks-haya ghat)|
|Sundargarh||Sundargarh, Rourkela, Junagarh,Vedavyas, Uhsakothi, Mandira, Khandadhara, Deodaraha, Ghogar, Darjeeng, Miriglotah and Chhatri Hill|
These tourist spots have the basic infrastructure and facilities. In the mean while, the Department has identified a few more tourist spots.
The book Hotel Guide Odisha 1997 published by Department of Tourism and Culture embodies a vivid description of accommodation facilities available to tourists. Another book entitled Odisha Tourism is also helpful for tourists for the simple reason that it covers wide-ranging information relating to route chart, Panthanivas with telephone numbers. There are brochures giving historical background of fairs and festivals, percentage of increase and decrease of the domestic and foreign tourists and the revenue earned during particular periods.
The survey conducted by the Department of Tourism and Culture reveals the following details:
|YEAR||DOCESTIC INCREASE/DECREASE OVER PREVIOUS YEAR||% OF TOURIST DRECREASEOVER PREVIOUS YEAR||FOREIGN % OF DECREASE||% OF|
(Upto May, 1996)