A perfect example of beauty with brains, this dynamic lady officer is on a mission – to build the perfect image of Odisha in the eyes of every traveller and to ensure that the image built matches the reality and all deliverables promised are well in place. Ms. Rina Mohapatra, Joint Resident Commissioner, Govt. of Odisha, who is also an amateur painter and writer, shares details of her journey in an exclusive chat with BOTT India for its Women’s Day Special Series.
Priyanka Saxena Ray
Can you please share with us some background about your education qualification?
I hail from the State of Odisha and have done my Masters in Mathematics from Utkal University, Odisha. I obtained my Trade Fair Management Certificate from Trade Fair Authority of India (TFAI), New Delhi presently ITPO, New Delhi. I worked for more than two years in different corporate houses before joining Odisha Administrative Service (OAS).
How did you enter the Tourism Industry?
Administration job is pretty versatile. It puts you through different kind of places and situations during your career span. It is mere by chance I got the assignment to look after tourism wing while being posted as Joint Resident Commissioner, Odisha.
What potential do you foresee in India regarding its Tourism growth?
India is a fascinating destination having multiple tourist attractions. You name anything and you will find it in India. From History, Culture, Tradition, Exotic Locations, to mouth-watering Cuisine, everything is amazing and appreciated worldwide. Each State and its cities have huge potential for tourism experience. For example, India’s villages have the hidden potential for sustainable tourism which can give traveller an authentic experience of ethnic culture and tradition while helping the community’s economic growth. One such example is Mangalajodi Chillika in Odisha where one experiences the 2nd largest congregation of migratory birds in Asia’s largest brackish water lake. This is a UNWTO award winning destination where the community is involved in the growth of Tourism. This model maximises local stakeholder participation thereby turning poachers to protectors. Effective development of similar tourist places will definitely take India tourism to a greater height and would be the biggest contributor to the GDP in India.
As a lady, would you say India is safe for women travellers?
I believe if you follow the travel advisory and common sense, India is as safe as any other tourist friendly nation.
Do you find it tough to manage work and home? Does your family support you?
It’s not tough at all because I am passionate about both the areas. I consider myself a workaholic and a passionate home maker at the same time. To better manage both I set priorities from time to time. Fortunately, my family support is much more than I had expected for which I can give as much time needed for my work. I cannot ignore the fact that I also had a few understanding seniors who allowed me to attend to my family whenever needed. So, till today, I have not faced any challenge, rather managed both with dexterity.
Would you like to share any message with the women in the Travel Trade?
There is ample opportunity for women in travel trade. It is quite encouraging to find a huge chunk of women population in this industry. In my personal opinion women can be much more caring and involved in whatever they do. This industry needs a lot more fine turning to make it big and happening. Who else other than the women can understand the intrinsic philosophy “Atithi Devo Bhava.” Go women folks grab the world of opportunities so that your work speak volumes.
Which is your favourite Travel destination in India?
My favourite destination is not limited to one location. I love being at the pristine beaches of Odisha, lush green forest at Bhitarkanika whose incredible beauty and exuberance in absolutely mesmerizing. Other than Odisha, I love a small hill destination near Maldevta in Tehri-Garwal called Hill-Stream resorts where you enjoy the solo spiritual sojourn as much as you enjoy the place with your family.
What is the one change you would like to see in the Travel Trade Industry?
I would like to see the travel trade more organised and participating. Government is always there to help but not self-sufficient to bring about a huge transformation. So my imagination in tourism growth lies in private participation in terms of investment, skill and passion to the hilt.