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Maharashtra approves adventure tourism policy to make it safe for people

Published on Jul 14, 2021 11:59 PM IST

Maharashtra government on Wednesday approved a policy for adventure tourism to streamline adventure activities across the state

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By, Mumbai

Maharashtra government on Wednesday approved a policy for adventure tourism to streamline adventure activities across the state. The policy was approved in the state cabinet meeting held on Wednesday and detailed guidelines will soon be issued by the tourism department.

The new policy has focused on the safety of the people and covers all tour operators that organise adventure tourism except adventure sports, performance-oriented sports, forest safari and nature trips.

The policy will establish a regulatory framework for the sector with guidelines on necessary training of personnel and equipment etc. It will make it mandatory for tour operators to register with the state tourism directorate and take all necessary precautions while organising adventure tours, officials said.

State tourism and environment minister Aaditya Thackeray said the priority of the government is to save lives of the people. “There were no rules related to adventure tourism and accidents were also happening. The policy is an attempt to streamline the activities by covering all the three mediums of adventure tourism — land, water and air. It will cover all tour operators that organise adventure tourism. It means they will have to follow all the rules while organizing adventure tourism tours for amateurs and tourists,” Thackeray said.

“The state government’s priority is to save the lives of the people. We want to encourage adventure tourism and send a message that it is safe for them. We want Maharashtra to lead in tourism once Covid pandemic is over,” he said.

A senior official from tourism department said, “All tour operators that are related to adventure tourism will have to make a temporary registration with the tourism directorate. They will get permanent registration once they fulfil all the criteria. Following which they will have to follow guidelines to be issued by the tourism department and take all the necessary precautions mentioned.”

The activities that come under adventure tourism are mountaineering, trekking, bungee jumping, mountain biking, cycling, canoeing, scuba diving, rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, paragliding, hiking, exploring, canyoneering, sandboarding, caving and rock climbing.

Maharashtra is the fifth state in the country in terms of organising a number of adventure tours and is expected to be on top with the help of this policy.

“There was no rule in the state making it mandatory for tour operators for registration. There are lots of fly-by-night people in the profession who are not following regular safety procedures. We have brought in registration and guidelines so that the safety and security of tourists is not compromised,” said Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary, tourism department.

She said the guidelines will be strict, making it mandatory to have experts in the team going for adventure tourism, equipment, first-aid preparedness, insurance etc. There will also be a mandatory site inspection for completing the registration process for tour operators, she added.

The government has also decided to form three committees for monitoring and effective implementation of the policy. One will be a state-level committee headed by the tourism secretary, second would be divisional-level committee and third would be local-level committees. All these committees will have experts from the field and officials from sports, forest and police departments, the principal secretary said.

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