Hospitality industry demands restoration of flights
By Express News Service - BHUBANESWAR
05th November 2012 12:22 PM
Shocked by national carrier Air India’s withdrawal of fights to Kolkata and Chennai, the hotel and tourism industry on Sunday fervently appealed to Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh to restore not just the two recent flights but also the ones which have been dropped in the past.
The Hotel and Restaurant Association (HRAO) of Odisha expressed its dismay over the sudden withdrawal of flights on the eve of the tourist season. It said this move would badly hamper not only the tourism sector but also the trade, commerce and industry of the State.
The HRAO said the reasoning cited for the withdrawal, that it was a business decision, cannot be true as the number of corporate and business travellers to Odisha has largely increased since Odisha has witnessed increasing investment flow in the past years.
The withdrawal will leave the tourism and hospitality industry in the lurch, HRAO chairman JK Mohanty told mediapersons. Bookings have been done for a large number of conferences scheduled for November, December and January. As delegates from Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata arrive at Bhubaneswar through the Air India flights, the decision will also hit these business ventures. Earlier the national carrier had withdrawn flights to Bangalore, Raipur, Varanasi and Hyderabad from Odisha.
Similarly, Tourism Department of the State has been aggressively promoting the Buddhist circuit of the State. For this IRCTC will extend its Mahapari Nirvan Express and two trains have been scheduled for December and January with an assurance of travel trade. Many tourists who are to proceed to Sri Lanka and other places would be affected.
A group of tour operators and hoteliers are scheduled to leave for Buddhist countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka and Cambodia to promote Odisha but the withdrawal of flights from Kolkata and Chennai will deal a blow, the HRAO said.
Recently, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had met Singh seeking international airport status to Bhubaneswar but withdrawal of connecting flights to metros at such a juncture can affect its prospects seriously, the HRAO said.
The Association urged the Civil Aviation Minister to restore the flights urgently to Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Raipur and Varanasi.
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