- The tourism industry in Puri hit by cyclone Phailin again jumped back to normalcy with hotels experiencing unexpected 80% occupancy from just 5% recorded last week at the onset of the calamity.
“We have started receiving enquiries from tourists, who are eager to visit Puri. Bookings are in full swing,” said secretary of Odisha Tour Operators’ Association Yugabrata Kar.
“We have repaired parts of the hotel after the cyclone caused minor damage. The hotel is booked for the next 15 days,” said Hotel Mayfair’s manager (Puri) Sanjeeb Pattnaik.
Hotel Association of Puri (HAP) secretary Rajkishore Patra said nearly one lakh tourists arrived in Puri between Sunday evening and Monday afternoon. “We had apprehended losses. But the inflow of tourists gained momentum after Howrah and Delhi-bound trains started running from Sunday evening,” said Patra, owner of Hotel Holiday Resort.
Many tourists, who were evacuated from Puri to nearby hotels in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and other non-coastal districts in the event of the cyclone and high tide warnings, are back in the seaside town. Though power supply was not fully restored till Tuesday, some hotels are using generators. Puri has about 436 hotels, of which over 250 are on the seafront.
The beach was abuzz with activity as tourists in large numbers thronged the shores on Monday after the turbulent sea turned tranquil.
Earlier, the tourism industry suffered a body blow following large-scale cancellations of bookings from Thursday. Tourism director Manoranjan Pattnaik on Saturday said the tourism and hospitality sector in the state had incurred losses in the crores.
“Luckily, the tourism sector limped back to normal very quickly. This is a good sign,” Pattnaik said.
The tourism department has started the process of beautifying the beach that lost its sheen after strong winds ripped apart tourist recreation centres, rest sheds and chairs.
“A few light poles were damaged. We will repair them soon,” said Puri tourist officer Bijay Kumar Jena.
Source: [Times of India]