Bhubaneswar: Come January 2022, Odisha will have Luxury Cruise facility for the tourists to enjoy natures’ bounty of Bhitarkanika National Park and nearby areas.
Thanks to the overdrive of the Department of Tourism at least four Luxury Catamaran Cruise Vessels will be ready for operation for a glorious experience of Cruise Tourism in Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary.
Cruise Tourism is niche water based recreation project, which Odisha is currently working on.
Vishal Dev, Principal Secretary Tourism and Sports reviewed the Luxury Catamaran Cruise Project here on 9 July with the senior officials of the Department of Tourism.
The world famous Bhitarkanika National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is inundated by the Rivers Brahmani and Baitarani.
It hosts many mangrove species, and is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India.
Recently Department of Tourism (DoT) floated Request For Proposal (RFP) to select an Operator for Luxury Catamaran Cruise Project.
RFP is a business document that announces a project, describes it, and solicits bids from qualified contractors to complete it.
Among the 3 bids received, and one of the India’s leading luxury river cruise operator Heritage River Journeys Group has become the preferred bidder.
Letter of Award (LoA) has been issued to the bidder, which will take charge of 4 Catamarans of the Department of Forest, Environment and Climate Change (DoFECC).
DoFECC has procured these four catamarans under ICZMP Project for promoting water based recreation in selected water bodies of the State.
Further these catamarans were operated in Bhitarkanika National Park for few years by the DoFECC.
Now the preferred bidder will take over these catamarans and refurbish the same as House Boats, which will be operationalized from January 2022, officials say.
Overnight stay packages will be offered to the guests covering different parts of Bhitarkanika National Park and nearby areas.
So these catamarans will have State-Of-The Art luxury suites opening straight to the river.
Whether one is docked in one place or travelling around, serenity offered will be unparalleled, officials admit.
River Cruise will be an environmentally conscious and sustainable initiative by the Department of Tourism.
This initiative will provide best possible experience of exploring nature, wildlife and environment.
In India Luxury River Cruise is offered on River Ganga from Kolkata to Varanasi. So also Kolkata and Guwahati, said official sources.
Way back in 23 July, 2020, Chief Secretary chaired a meeting for development of Bhitarkanika as a Tourist Destination and it was decided to provide river cruise facilities.
So the proposed Luxury River Cruise is all set to change the experience of tourists visiting Bhitarkanika National Park in a different way, feel officials.
In fact Odisha Government is promoting Water Based Recreation in a big way with Tampara Lake Front Project in Ganjam, and Siver City Boat Club in River Mahanadi in Cuttack, which has been launched early 2021.
After introduction of Cruise Tourism in Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, it will be operationalized in Chilka and Mahanadi River, said sources in Department of Tourism.