Maha Tourism in Ma­ha­rash­tra

Jayku­mar Rawal, Min­is­ter of Tourism & (EGS), Ma­ha­rash­tra, is leav­ing no stone un­turned to de­velop new prod­ucts for the state – from build­ing in­fra­struc­ture around forts, fa­cil­i­tat­ing cruise and med­i­cal tourism to en­cour­ag­ing Bud­dhist tourism.

TravTalk - India - - STATES - Hazel Jain

QMa­ha­rash­tra has been cre­at­ing a lot of new at­trac­tions and de­vel­op­ing in­fra­struc­ture. How much in­vest­ment has the state al­lo­cated for this in 2017-18 and in 2018-19? The his­toric forts in Pune district namely, Rairesh­war, Ro­hida and Par­wadi have been sanc­tioned Rs 6.5 crore for de­vel­op­ment. MTDC is also propos­ing to se­cure 100 acres of gov­ern­ment land in Igat­puri to de­velop as a well­ness hub which will of­fer ther­a­pies like yoga, Ayurveda, reiki, spa, etc. The Gov­ern­ment of

To pro­mote cruise tourism, the cen­tre has re­moved oust­ing charges and has given a dis­count of 42-66% on port charges. They have also in­tro­duced e-visa & onar­rival visa for cruise tourists and waived off cab­o­tage for for­eign cruise ves­sels

Ma­ha­rash­tra has also pro­posed ‘Mum­bai-Au­rangabad-Nag­pur’ tri­an­gle which will as­sist to boost tourism. Re­cently, Ma­ha­rash­tra gov­ern­ment col­lab­o­rated with Airbnb to start home­s­tay fa­cil­i­ties in 35 places at Ele­phanta Is­land. MTDC and Airbnb have also co­op­er­a­tively ini­ti­ated a train­ing pro­gramme to drive eco­nomic growth within lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

Q What was the idea be­hind de­vel­op­ing and in­vest­ing on this as­pect of tourism?

Ma­ha­rash­tra has a vast po­ten­tial for tourism to pro­vide the ris­ing de­mands of tourists all over the world. The agenda of the tourism pol­icy as on May 2016 is to at­tract pri­vate in­vest­ments and de­velop the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture to boost tourism in the state.

Q Can you share the de­tails of projects that the min­istry is ac­tively in­volved in apart from the upgra­da­tion of the cruise ter­mi­nal in Mum­bai?

Talk­ing about cruise tourism, Mum­bai will be a hub in Ma­ha­rash­tra as many at­trac­tive tourist des­ti­na­tions will be de­vel­oped. As cruise tourism is the fastest-grow­ing com­po­nents of the leisure sec­tor, it will help gen­er­ate for­eign ex­change and cre­ate job op­por­tu­ni­ties. The gov­ern­ment is also plan­ning to de­velop new cov­er­ing Mum­bai, Goa, Man­ga­lore, Chen­nai and Cochin. To pro­mote cruise tourism, the cen­tre has re­moved oust­ing charges and has given a dis­count of 42-66 per cent on port charges. They have also in­tro­duced e-visa and on-ar­rival visa fa­cil­i­ties for cruise tourists and waived off cab­o­tage for for­eign cruise ves­sels. Air­ports on wa­ter, where sea­planes can land will soon be in the coun­try. Ma­ha­rash­tra is still work­ing on pro­cesses of sea­plane op­er­a­tions.

Q Are there other ar­eas of fo­cus that are on your pri­or­ity list?

Med­i­cal tourism is one of the fast-grow­ing seg­ments in the tourism in­dus­try. In a re­cent­ly­held con­fer­ence, ex­perts dis­cussed and de­bated on the fu­ture of med­i­cal tourism in Ma­ha­rash­tra and the state’s po­ten­tial to de­velop in global med­i­cal tourism. Se­condly, Bol­ly­wood tourism is an­other key area. Mum­bai is known quo­tient they bring. To widen the prospects of Bol­ly­wood tourism across the state, we have pro­vided a res­o­lu­tion to sin­gle-win­dow scheme to ease the re­quired per­mis­sion for ad­ver­tise­ments in and around Ma­ha­rash­tra. Last but not the least is the Bud­dhist cir­cuit. Ma­ha­rash­tra tourism re­cently hosted the In­ter­na­tional Bud­dhist Con­clave 2018 with the as­so­ci­a­tion of Min­istry of Tourism on Au­gust 24, 2018. The main aim is to ex­pand the av­enues of Bud­dhist tourism in Ma­ha­rash­tra.

Q What is the kind of in­crease you have seen in num­ber?

The state of Ma­ha­rash­tra is in the process of main­tain­ing the sta­tis­tics of last year and are ex­pect­ing a heavy tourist rush dur­ing the mon­soon sea­son in Ma­ha­rash­tra and the tourism de­part­ment of the state has is­sued a strict ad­vi­sory to each district col­lec­tor, es­pe­cially for the most vul­ner­a­ble tourist spots to avoid ac­ci­dents and take pre­cau­tions. The stepped up sur­veil­lance af­ter a se­quence of re­cent ac­ci­dents at scenic wa­ter­falls and tourism des­ti­na­tions. The pre­ven­tive mea­sures have been sug­gested by MTDC and the ap­proval for the same is awaited.

Jayku­mar Rawal

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