Odisha government has requested the Air Asia to operate its flight from Bhubaneswar to Colombo and Bangkok, informed Tourism Minister Ashok Panda here on Tuesday.

The airline is currently operating flights connecting Kuala Lumpur to Bhubaneswar. Minister Panda said the flight connectivity has thrown open the entire east, south-east Asian nations to Bhubaneswar for tourism and businesses.

Initially, Air Asia flights were for three days a week but since October last year it is on all days of the week due to the demand, he observed. Odisha is aggressively marketing its tourist potential in the international circuit, he claimed.

Tourist footfall both domestic and foreign has increased manifold from during the last three years, he added. Foreign tourist arrival in the state recorded a growth of 30.97 percent during the period.

The arrival of domestic tourists to the state was 1,40,11,229 in 2017 against 1,07,90,622 in 2014 and the arrival of foreign tourist to the state went up from 71,417 in 2014 to 1,00,014 in 2017.

The state government has planned to organise five pilgrimage trips under the Barishtha Nagarika Tritha Yatra Yojana in 2018-19 for senior citizens.