Tourism sector of Bhubaneswar pins biz revival hope on Rath Yatra


The Odisha tourism industry, which was in doldrums owing to Cyclone Fani in 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic in the two subsequent years, is all set to receive a major fillip during nine- day Rath Yatra, starting July 1. The government expects a footfall of around 20 lakh devoteesduring the nine days, almost double the usual arrival of tourists during the period in the past. Tourists, who were barred from attending Rath Yatra in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, have already booked almost all hotels in Puri. Though tourism started showing the sign of revival in September 2021, Rath Yatra, which is Odisha’s biggest annual festival, is always considered as a big booster to the state’s hospitality sector. Though the government has never compiled any specific data related to revenue generation from Rath Yatra, industry sources said the economy would run into crores. “Not just hotels, the arrival of tourists would give business to vendors, restaurateurs and transporters. The Jagannath temple also receives good donations during the period,” Hotel Association of Puri (HAP) secretary Raj Kishore Patra said.