The State of Maharashtra received a special note during a National Tourism Ministers’ Conference for the progress of Mahrashtra in developing infrastructure and growth from K. Chiranjeevi, Union Minister for Tourism, Government of India. The Conference was held in Delhi on Thursday to discuss the future strategies for realizing the full tourism potential of the country. Chhagan Bhujbal, Honourable Minister for Tourism, Government of Maharashtra, while presenting the state’s achievements and commitment in tourism sector, also invited the South Indian Superstar to inaugurate the state-of-the-art Visitors Information Centre at Ajanta and Ellora which is scheduled to be opened in September this year.
Safety of tourists was one of the major issues discussed at the Conference. Bhujbal said, “Maharashtra has already been declared safest state and Mumbai is the safest city in the country. Tourism police were trained and deployed by state 7 to 8 years back at important tourist centres and monuments. Yet, especially Mumbai police has always tried innovative ways through PPP model to handle the tourists.”
Chiranjeevi said, “We appreciate the work of Maharashtra towards development of infrastructure. I have been discussing with the Surface Transport Ministry for the development of wayside amenities like that of toilet, refreshments, and similar infrastructure to boost the tourism.”
Satish Soni, Joint Managing Director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), said, “We can encourage formulation of tourism cooperative society at the important tourism centres and locations. This will involve all stakeholders of tourism sector. The special officers will be deputed who will concentrate on providing security for visitors and will be visible in tourist areas. We have taken initiative for having separate budget head for creating awareness among localities about pros and cons of tourism so that development is socially sustainable. State will establish the code of conduct for safe and honourable tourism.”
The Conference deliberated on various agenda items, which included the safety and security of tourists, Campaign Clean India to improve cleanliness at important tourist destinations, rationalization of Taxes to make Indian tourism products competitive, bringing uniformity in the structure of Road Taxes and promote seamless travel, the timely implementation of tourism infrastructure projects, the time bound issue of licenses and no objection certificates for various tourism related services, the provision of single window clearance for hotels and tourism projects and MICE(Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) activities, promoting accessible and sustainable tourism and improving coordination between various State Governments and Union Territory Administrations for promoting Intra-regional Tourism.
During the conference while an exchange of ideas took place between the Ministry of Tourism and various State and Union Territory Tourism Authorities, interaction between the State and Union Territory Tourism Authorities and industry stakeholders also took place. Delegates attending the Conference laid stress on the safety and security of tourists, particularly women. The Conference launched a new campaign “I Respect Women” with Ministry of Tourism issuing badges in Hindi and ten international languages.