Madhya Pradesh never had the distinction of being a popular tourist spot, but the story has changed now. The state received four national tourism awards in 2008 including the ‘Best tourism performing state’. Managing Director of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC) Ashwani Lohani spoke to HT, about how the corporation managed to change things.
Tell us about the innovations brought about by MPTDC to make the state a favoured tourist destination?
At MPTDC we have laid special emphasis on innovation in different aspects of tourism. For example only Madhya Pradesh can boast of an ISO certified dhaba enroute to Indore from Bhopal. The dhaba does a business of about Rs 1,00,000 a day. We have the only rail coach and restaurant in the country in Bhopal where guests feel like they are inside an air-conditioned coach. We have also introduced the mobile audio guide for historic monuments.
How did MPTDC bring a turnaround and become profitable?
From a loss making entity for over two decades, MPTDC is one of the most profitable government corporations in the state. From a turnover of Rs 12 crore in 2003-04, it is likely to achieve a turnover of Rs 70 crore by this financial year (2009-10). Our tourists inflow has gone up from Rs 1.10 crore in 2006 to Rs 1.75 crore in 2008. We are expecting to touch the Rs 2 crore-tourist mark by end of 2009.
What is the key focus of the corporation?
Budget-hotels are our key focus area. We want to keep tourism “affordable and appreciable”. We have also introduced radio taxi facility in Bhopal.