Rs.20,000 cr commitment for Maharastra tourism at ‘Make in India’ summit

The investment MoUs signed by Maharastra Tourism at the recently held “Make in India” summit is likely to bolster the slew of new initiatives which will be set afoot with the implementation of the new tourism policy. The policy is awaiting the clearance of the state cabinet and is likely to become operation before this month end.

Maharastra TourismFor Maharastra, a state which is already firmly placed in the top echelon of tourism pecking order in the country, the week-long ‘Make in India’ summit could just have been the befitting prologue of its grand designs which is likely to be unveiled in the form of a new policy this month. The new policy has drawn a ten year development horizon provisioning not only for ease in doing business in the tourism sector but also opening new verticals with adequate scope for private sector participation. In a nut-shell, it envisions a quantum leap for Maharastra Tourism tending to create opportunities for the state to enhance its tourism appeal significantly.

But before the possible transformation which the new policy (to become effective from 1st of April after getting the final clearance from the state cabinet) is slated to usher in, here is a look at how Maharatsra Tourism fared at the recently held ‘Make in India’ week. Among other sectors, tourism potential of India too was aggressively promoted before a gathering comprising representatives from 102 countries and for Maharastra Tourism specifically, the event turned out to be clear bonanza. “We have signed 11 MoUs amounting around Rs 20,000 crore for our tourism sector. Some of these projects will come up in Sindugurh coastal region, a major spa resort will come up in Raigarh, and another MoU has been signed to create a defining art village in Lonawala. Furthermore, three projects have been signed in the large amusement parks segment in and around Mumbai. One of them will be created in Goregaon. Maharastra tourism is quite happy with the outcome of the Make in India summit,” an elated Valsa Nair Singh, Tourism Secretary, Maharastra told TourismFirst in a recent exclusive conversation.

From the perspective of Maharastra tourism, the positive outcome of Make in India marks the beginning of a new momentum which will be further emphasised by the implementation of the new tourism policy. “Our new policy which is just waiting for the cabinet clearance will significantly expedite tourism development in the state in the near to medium run. We have taken into the consideration the key concerns of all stakeholders and we have accordingly fine-tuned the policy framework. For instance, the new policy proposes only 20 clearances for a hotel projects as against existing 72 (construction excluded). The new policy will have plenty of incentives for other stakeholders,” Nair informed.

The new tourism policy has set some ambitious objectives beginning with making Maharastra one of the leading global destinations in the world by 2025. The policy paper has called for “achieving a sectorial growth of 10% per annum and share of 15% in GSDP by encouraging Mega Project investments especially in less developed tourism zones.” It envisages creation of one million jobs in the state tourism sector and has advocated identifying Nagpur, Aurangabad and Sindhudurg as Special tourism districts. Specific tourism zones will be created in other areas in the state. Furthermore, tourism growth corridors will be earmarked across the state and the state will be further classified into separate tourist cities and tourist clusters which will be promoted through identified themes. A critical highlight of the policy is the promotion of new verticals. “Tourism is all about offering new and enhanced experiences to the visitors. And that is why in this policy, you will notice tremendous focus on some niche verticals which will make our basket of offerings unique in the medium to long-run,” emphasized Nair. The policy has provisioned for big-ticket push to the nascent segments like mango tourism (Ratnagiri), orange tourism (Nagpur) and wine tourism (Nashik). Another unique tourism offering which will be pushed by the state tourism department will be education tourism wherein Pune, Mumbai and Nagpur will be positioned as major education hubs through which the tourism related studies and research will be promoted. The draft policy paper has also strongly recommended popularizing delicacies from the regions of Vidharbha, Malwan, Konkan, Kolhapur, street food of Mumbai, etc. through special culinary events and festivals in the state. “The new policy, when it comes into the place, will definitely pave the way for tapping huge opportunity in the new verticals. It will certainly lead us in the direction of more holistic development in the future,” Nair said.

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