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Fruitful year for tourism in State

THE YEAR 2006 ? that began with the launching of Lake Princess Cruise vessel in Upper Lake, Bhopal and culminated with the Union Government approving more than Rs 31 crore worth projects of the MP State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) - arguably turned out to be a fruitful one for tourism in Madhya Pradesh.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2006 14:11 IST

THE YEAR 2006 – that began with the launching of Lake Princess Cruise vessel in Upper Lake, Bhopal and culminated with the Union Government approving more than Rs 31 crore worth projects of the MP State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) - arguably turned out to be a fruitful one for tourism in Madhya Pradesh.

The months in between also saw several advances being made regularly towards development of tourism prospects intermingled with occasional awards coming the corporation’s way.

Bhopal hosted two important conferences back to back in the early months. The brainstorming sessions proved worthwhile and led to reduction in luxury tax by 10 per cent for new hotels being set up in the State.

Besides, the economic air carrier Deccan Air also began operations from the State connecting it to various new locations across the country.

The Taj Group of Hotels also started its first property in a national park in the State subsequent to the open handed welcome provided by the State through the conferences. Both seminars greatly served their purpose and the then State Tourism Principal Secretary Swarnamala Rawla and MPSTDC Managing Director Alka Upadhyay played a major role in both the events.

On June 2, Ashwani Lohani was brought in to play his second innings as the MPSTDC Managing Director.  The first major development in Lohani’s new term was the shifting of MPSTDC to its own swanky office, Paryatan Bhavan on Bhadbhada Road in July. The MPSTDC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the SOTC travel group in August.

On the occasion of `World Tourism Day’ on September 27, a new adventure zone `Baaz’ was inaugurated near Bhopal. Pepped up by the tremendous response to the Lake Princess cruise vessel launched in Bhopal’s Upper Lake, a new cruise boat was launched in Bargi in October while a Jabalpur-Kanha luxury bus came on road in the same month. The corporation opened up a
new dhaba for travellers in Khalghat also in October.

November was probably the best month in the year with three MPT hotels – Palash, Bhopal, Kalchuri, Jabalpur and Tansen, Gwalior - being granted three-star status and three others waiting in the wings for the same. A boat club began operations at Shivpuri while a new conference hall was added to the Tansen Hotel in Gwalior.

The Shivpuri Festival in November attracted large crowds and MPSTDC moved a step ahead in acquiring railway huts at Bhimbetka to open up a unit there.

An MoU with Raj Travels was signed in the beginning of December and the Centre granted approval of projects worth more than Rs 31 crore. An impressive electronic ad campaign was also launched on various satellite TV channels the same month while the MPSTDC stepped into the field of air charters too.

The Union Railway Ministry approved the Khajuraho-Mahoba rail route paving the way for Khajuraho finally getting much-needed direct rail connectivity. Last but not the least, MP’s Gwalior Fort was chosen as the façade of the Indian stall at the famous Dubai International Shopping Festival, ending the year on a positive note.