India held its first international cruise conference in Mumbai on May 14. More than 300 delegates from various sectors and states attended the conference and provided their valuable input. Odisha state also participated in the conference and shared its ambitious plan to expand river tourism in the state. The state announced the launch of houseboats, floating restaurants and catamarans as part of their plan. Odisha is all set to have its kind of luxury houseboat Garuda, to enhance river tourism at Chilika Lake.
The director of tourism, Sachin Jadhav, addressed the conference with a detailed presentation revealing Odisha’s cruise tourism and its strategic benefits during a panel discussion. He took the panel through a roadmap that will lead to the growth of cruise and river tourism in the state.
On Saturday, while addressing the conference, the state tourism office announced that the houseboat will be launched on the lake for commercial purposes. The luxury boat has an indigenous design and is developed and manufactured in the Barkul region of Odisha. The houseboat would give the tourists a five star experience and they will be able to sail through the water while living a king size life. Various tour packages will be offered to the tourists which will include more than just staying in the luxury houseboat. The packages can be customized according to the preferences of tourists and they can add the Bhitarkanika National Park and adjacent areas of Gahirmatha Wildlife Sanctuary to the experience of flora and fauna.
In addition, the packages include various meals, adventure activities, and a houseboat cruise that covers several islands in Chilika. Speaking of the houseboat, it has two floors and two suites, four premium rooms, bars and restaurants with an open lobby. The state tourism office will currently launch two houseboats with a capacity of 40 people per boat.
The luxury houseboat, an initiative of Vikas Eco Resorts, has undergone an investment of more than Rs 3 crores. Besides Garuda, the state tourism department will also join hands with other departments such as Water Resources and Forests and Environment to improve tourism in the state.
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