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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Boom time for hotels in capital & Puri

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 28: Hotels in Puri are overflowing with guests and the ones in Bhubaneswar are struggling to accommodate the spill over.

Such is the rush of tourists eager to ring in the New Year in the beach town that the local hospitality industry can’t take them all even at a push. Some, in fact, are going as far as Cuttack to find space for the next few days.

President of the Hotel Owners’ Association in Puri, Ramakrushna Das Mohapatra said though most of the bookings were made at least three months ago, a few hotels were still allowing on-the-spot booking in case of vacancy.

“Foreigners and people belonging to relatively higher income groups do not want to compromise with their stay as New Year is the occasion to splurge. They wouldn’t mind travelling from Bhubaneswar to Puri as it is just 65km away,” Das Mohapatra said.

The association governs 416 hotels in the holy town, which boasts of about 1,000 holiday homes, 200 guesthouses and lodges apart from numerous dharmashalas and ashrams.

“But not everybody would like to put up at places that are located far from the beach or the temple,” he added. The Puri hotel business is pegged at nearly Rs 5 crore.

Bhubaneswar, too, is chock-a-block with tourists looking for a spot of fun on the New Year’s Eve. While budget hotels and lodgings are booked to the hilt, the only hope for the latecomers is the high-end hotels. “Seventy per cent of our rooms are booked. We have many tourists who go out exploring places such as Puri and Konark during the day and return to the hotel only to catch some sleep,” said Biswa Bilas Das, an executive of Hotel Swosti.

The huge demand for hotels has pushed up the business of various travel agencies. “We are engaged directly with various hotels, which seek our services round the clock. Usually, the demand for luxury cars is high,” said Sudkakar Mishra, a travel agent in Cuttack.

Tourists are also showing a preference for other hot spots such as Konark, Ramchandi, Satpada and Chilika. “December to February is the best season to visit Odisha. Picnic groups have already booked nearly 25 air-conditioned coaches for one or two day excursions on New Year,” said Manisha, manager of sales and marketing, Swosti group.

The hotel industry in Cuttack, too, has registered a growth in terms of advance booking for rooms keeping in view the low availability in Bhubaneswar.

“Usually hotels in Bhubaneswar and Puri do brisk business during New Year but the situation is changing in Cuttack. In the past two years, the demand for hotels here has increased manifold,” said operational manager of Cuttack’s Grand Residency, Sishir Patra.