Maharashtra banks on its rains to lure tourists

Maharashtra banks on its rains to lure tourists

Thackeray said this would also offer job opportunities for locals and the government is raising infrastructure for this project

Tourism, environment and protocol minister Aaditya Thackeray. Credit: Special Arrangement

Maharashtra is using rainfall to lure tourists from countries with less or no rainfall in the first-of-its-kind concept of 'monsoon tourism'. 

The state’s tourism, environment and protocol minister Aaditya Thackeray has come up with the concept, saying that the three coastal Konkan districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg would be the core for the project and there would be linkages with neighbouring districts. 

“The Konkan region is known for very good rainfall. Even when I used to visit the region for campaigning and political meetings earlier, I used to add two days to enjoy the nature during monsoon,” Thackeray told DH in an interview ahead of World Tourism Day which has a theme of ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’.

Thackeray said this would also offer job opportunities for locals and the government is raising infrastructure for this project. 

“Monsoon has its own beauty and charm… rains are not meant to be a situation where everything is shut always. Konkan’s beautiful landscape turns greener and one can see the red Earth…it is a natural wonder which people should be encouraged to explore, let people come to just walk around, do trekking, climb mountains, see the greenery," Thackeray, a Shiv Sena leader, said.

“There are many countries in the world where there is no rainfall or very less or scanty rainfall…for them, rain is a thrill…we will extend a red-carpet welcome to them,” Thackeray said, adding that this can also be coupled with medical tourism when people would like to recuperate after surgeries, undergo physiotherapy or treatment like naturopathy and Ayurveda. 

“We already have a caravan policy in place,” he said. 

According to Thackeray, the Chipi-Parule airport in Sindhudurg district would be commissioned in November. “The airport puts Konkan in the international aviation map,” he said, adding that while neighbouring Goa has an international airport, another one is coming up in Mopa.

Besides, he said the road widening project involving Mumbai-Goa Highway is also underway. 

“In Konkan, on one side you have the mighty Arabian Sea and pristine beaches and on another side, you have a mountain range connecting western Maharashtra,” he said. 

“The region is known for flora and fauna, art and culture, the Konkani cuisine, Malvani cuisine” he said, adding that it offers excellent trekking and trails. “Internationally, there are a large number of tourists who want that,” he said. 

Thackeray pointed out that the government has also approved a beach shack policy. However, the pre-condition is that the ecology and turtle-nesting sites should not be disturbed. 

When asked about the government’s strategy of promoting tourism, he said, “As a government, we would be enablers. We are encouraging private participation and involvement of locals. We want to market Maharashtra as a complete destination,” he said.

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