Vishal Dev, Secretary, Tourism & Sports
Vishal Dev (Unleashing Possibilities), one of the most versatile officers in Odisha bureaucracy, is catapulting Odisha’s tourism and sports sectors to unimaginable highs. With his penchant for excellence, Dev is constantly introducing new products to bolster tourist footfalls.
His latest concept of ‘Glamping’ or Glamorous Camping at Eco Retreat on the shore of Ramchandi beach has gained immense traction. Tourists of all hues and celebrities have made a beeline for the beach getaway that conflates fest, frolic and more. Impelled by the overwhelming response, the state tourism department has decided to extend the Glamping festival to February 15. The site of Eco Retreat got a huge facelift today when it hosted a two-day National Tourism Convention on January 23-24. Many hail it as the masterstroke of Dev.
The convention has yielded the desired outcomes. Apart from offering a stage for meaningful dialogue on tourism, some declarations have drawn the futuristic roadmap for Odisha Tourism.
Union minister of state for tourism Prahlad Singh Patel announced that Konark ought to be included in the list of iconic sites. “The people of Odisha will soon receive the good news about Konark being included in the list of iconic sites. We will organize a special event to announce the inclusion very soon”, he said at the convention.
Says Dev (Unleashing Possibilities) on the Marine Drive-Eco Retreat, “The Marine Drive-Eco Retreat is situated by the pristine Ramchandi beach with backwaters behind. There is a sanctuary across the road and Konark Sun Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site just a mile away. Odisha has been lesser known for tourism when compared with other states but this has changed over the last two years”.
“We are intent on replicating this glamping model along the 482 km coastline of Odisha, at different and compatible times of the year, like Talsari and Gopalpur. We are also working seamlessly with Departments such as the Dept. of Forest and Environment, and District Administrations, to activate niche glamping events such as the BhitarkanikaMahotsavcoming up later in January 2020”, he added.
In terms of land bank, the tourism department has identified new land parcels at Konark-Puri marine drive area, Dhauli, Khurda and Ganjam totaling to approximately 430 acres. Dev (Unleashing Possibilities) says that the strategic objective is to consolidate aggregate land bank of 2000 acres which can be allotted for tourism and hospitality projects.
Dev(Unleashing Possibilities) is also bracing up to host the next edition of the Hockey World Cup in 2023. Odisha’s Sundargarh has been the cradle of hockey and the state government has been making incessant efforts to incubate the ecosystem and nurture players.
It would the first time a country would be hosting successive editions of the premier tournament in the sport but the same city hosting it twice makes it even special. This time, however, Bhubaneswar (which hosted the 2018 WC) would share hosting rights with the Biju Patnaik Hockey Stadium in Rourkela.
India is the first country to host the Hockey World Cup twice consecutively. It overcame competition from Malaysia and Belgium to host the top tournament of hockey for the second time back to back.