The Madhya Pradesh government is planning to explore possibilities in aqua tourism as the state with several large water bodies is gearing up to host the second Jal Mahotsav at Indira Sagar Sports complex near here.
Tourism minister Surendra Patwa outlined the government’s plans citing the big water bodies such as Indira Sagar Dam, which is Asia’s biggest man-made lake, Gandhi Sagar Dam in Mandsaur, Omkareshwar Dam, Tawa Dam, Bargi Dam and Ban Sagar Dam.
Patwa said Madhya Pradesh, which has established its name in cultural, spiritual and adventure tourism, should now take a big leap in aqua tourism despite not having beaches like Goa or Kerala.
Indira Sagar Sports Complex is hosting the Jal Mahotsav (water festival) from December 15 to January 15. The first such festival was held between February 12 and 23, attracting over one lakh foreign and domestic tourists.
Patwa said Madhya Pradesh is the only state in the country which has its own cabinet for tourism. “We have annual budget of Rs 230 crore for tourism, of which Rs 90 crore is spent on heritage tourism, and `78 crore annual on Buddhist tourism,” Patwa added.
Earlier state Tourism Department Corporation (MPTDC) hotels had a profit of Rs 22 lakh, but now it has surged to around Rs 6 crore, he said.
“We are planning to develop wayside hotels every 50km,” the minister said, adding that the state would develop around 300 such hotels to cater to more tourists.
Patwa also said that generation of employment opportunities for locals was one of the objectives of these measures.
On involvement of private players, MPTDC managing director Hariranjan Rao said it would help develop more sites for tourism.
“Today, our priority is to bring branded private players to the state as it will help build brand in tourism sector,” he said.
He informed that 12-acre land had been handed over to Mahindra Holidays to develop a tourist resort at Hanumantia while the corporation has put Pipariya Khurd and other islands for bidding and hoped that more private players would show interest.
MPTDC chairman Tapan Bhomik was also present on the occasion.
MEASURES TO ENHANCE TOURISM IN STATE
Indore soon to have 5-star hotel
Madhya Pradesh tourism development corporation chairman Tapan Bhomik on Sunday announced that Indore will soon have 108 rooms five-star hotel. Bhomik informed that earlier, corporation has decided to develop three-star hotel in the city, but not it will be five-star hotel. Corporation has completed all the formalities and preparation for the same. He added that in order to improve air connectivity, MoU has been sign with the private firm for air taxi services, air connectivity problem will be solve soon.
Indira Sagar Sports Complex
The site is located near Hanumantia village in the backwater of Indira Sagar Dam on Narmada River. The entire region is spread over 955 sq km and is home to 119 islands.
Distance: Indore to Hanumantiya 150 kilometre and 45 kilometre from Khandwa town
Project cost: Rs 20 crore
Recreation facilities available so far:Apart from accommodation facilities, the complex will have a cruise boat, motor boat, hot air-balloon, parasailing, paragliding.
It is situated near Omkareshwar jyotirlinga shrine in the backwater of Omkareshwar dam.
Distance: About 85 km south of Indore headquarters in Khandwa district
P roject Cost: Rs 10.5 crore
Recreation facilities available: Apart from accommodation facilities, Sailani island will have cruise boat, surfing facilities, jetty and a water scooter.