The Odisha government has decided to reopen all tourist destinations from October, more than six months after they were shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a minister said on Sunday. Tourism Minister J P Panigrahi said his department has prepared a master plan to promote various destinations in the state to attract tourists.

“We have decided to reopen all the tourist spots from October with strict adherence to health safety guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said after a programme organised to celebrate ‘World Tourism Day 2020’. Panigrahi did not mention the date for reopening of tourist destinations. Urging people to come to the state, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said all precautionary measures have been taken for the health safety of travellers, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

This was in line with the ‘tourism and rural development’, the theme for this year’s World Tourism Day, he said. The chief minister also launched an initiative to open ‘Nimantran’ restaurants across the state to promote authentic Odia cuisine. These eateries will be managed by the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation, an official said. “Three restaurants will be opened in Bhubaneswar, Puri and Sambalpur in the initial phase of the programme and three Food-on-Wheel mobile vans will be deployed in Bhubaneswar and Puri,” he added.