State promotes Buddhist circuit to attract Koreans

Read more below

By NAMITA PANDA
  • Published 22.01.11
  •  

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 21: Buddhist destinations in Orissa such as Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, Udaigiri and many others will now be thronged by South Korean tourists. The Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) has prepared a promotion plan for Buddhist tourist traffic along with Global Co-operation Society (GCS) of South Korea.

From road shows to special tour packages in South Korea and various countries with Buddhist tourism potential, OTDC and GCS have come together to promote tourism in the state. “As the first step towards the joint campaign, the governor of Jellonamdo province in South Korea has consented for the province’s sisterhood status with Orissa,” informed Jyotiskar Mohapatra, chairman, OTDC on Thursday at a joint-conference held at Pantha Nivas in the city.

The GCS ambassador to United Nations, Hong Ki-Kim said that an MoU will be soon signed between OTDC and GCS regarding the promotion partnership. “South Korea has much in common with Orissa be it culture or religion. The people there have a strong affinity towards the Buddhist sites here,” said Ki-Kim. “However, its surprising that though Koreans are travellers, only 1,200 pilgrims from our country visit Orissa every year,” he added.

“The fact that it was emperor Ashoka who spread Buddhism in Korea makes it nostalgic for Koreans to visit this land where he himself transformed and embraced Buddhism,” Ki-Kim said. He added that GCS has branches in 48 countries,

According to the promotion plans, OTDC will be organising road shows at South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China and other near by countries in April for highlighting Buddhist tourism potential of Orissa. “It is proposed to invite at least 100,000 tourists from Japan and Korea and 10,000 from Sri Lanka within the year 2011-2012.

The tourists would be provided facilities to cover Buddhist destinations like Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, Udaigiri, Langudi, Dhauli and Jirang,” said Mohapatra. “The accommodation centres, Pantha Nivas, at all these destinations will also be given a facelift starting with a complete make-over of Bhubaneswar Pantha Nivas,” he added. Most of the funding will be taken care of by GCS, informed officials.

Both OTDC and GCS officials said that together, they will also be developing eco-tourism destinations to transform non-Buddhist sites into tourism havens. The sites that have been considered to be revamped under the tie-up include Dagara beach at Baliapal in Balasore, Lulung where cottages will be created to attract tourists from Europe and South-East Asian countries; eco-tourism to be enhanced at Satakosia, Chilika, Kuldiha, Bhitarkanika, Simlipal.