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Maharashtra government to make Mumbai a world-class tourist destination

The state is finalising a first-ever comprehensive tourism development plan to attract domestic and foreign travellers to Mumbai; will offer five circuits our tour packages.

mumbai Updated: May 25, 2018 10:36 IST
Maharashtra,Mumbai,tourist
To separate tourists based on their preference, the state plans to offer five circuits or tour packages that club sites with similar themes together.(HT FILE PHOTO)

From a Bollywood theme park and 150-year-old houses in Khotachiwadi in Girgaum to Kala Ghoda festival and IPL matches at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai has it all – this is how the Maharashtra government plans to woo tourists to India’s financial capital.

Taking cues from New York, Sydney, Boston, and Chicago, which have been developed into tourism destinations, the state is finalising a first-ever comprehensive tourism development plan to attract domestic and foreign travellers to Mumbai. The estimated cost of the project is ₹676 crore.

The 275-page document details how the city can develop an R-urban village, providing the experience of rural Maharashtra in urban Gorai, a flamingo and mangroves museum at Sewri, and a Mumbai Haat.

To separate tourists based on their preference, the state plans to offer five circuits or tour packages that club sites with similar themes together. The packages have been divided into religious sites, museums and art galleries, popular markets, waterfronts and gardens, and old iconic residential areas such as Khotachiwadi, and Parsi Colony.

It also aims to give a boost to cultural events such as Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, Bandra Fair, Mumbai Marathon, Mumbai International Film Festival, IPL matches, Kala Ghoda Festival, and Elephanta Festival.

VK Gautam, principal secretary and managing director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), said they want the plan to be ready as soon as possible. “We have asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to send the plan to the state, so it can be cleared and implemented,” Gautam said.

For the existing tourist sites, it will lead to creation of better infrastructure, such as better parking facility, more ATMs, food stalls, toilets, drinking water kiosks, 24x7 tourist helpline, smartphone applications, websites, and tourist information centres.

The plan, which was first submitted to BMC by a private consultant in 2013, has regained momentum, with the state tourism department planning to rejig and implement it soon.

Currently, domestic tourists come to Mumbai for leisure, health care and business, while international tourists come for business purposes. Tourist visits are the peak during January and December. The idea is to get tourists to Mumbai’s famous and lesser-known sites through the year.

The proposal ranks Mumbai high on connectivity to the rest of India and the world and its uniqueness thanks to Bollywood, beaches, and renowned heritage sites, but ranks it low on climate, cleanliness, crowding, transport infrastructure, and availability of information for tourists. The plan includes development of basic infrastructure as well as world-class facilities.

The state also plans to cover Mumbai’s natural and cultural heritage such as waterfronts and beaches, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Kanheri caves, Aarey Milk Colony, Elephanta Caves and heritage structures.

First Published: May 24, 2018 10:42 IST