A day after the Maharashtra government allocated Rs. 2,369 crore as part of its push for tourist related activity in the state budget 2021-22, aimed at giving boost to policies that include beach shack, agro-tourism, etc. the Directorate of Tourism (DoT), Maharashtra Tourism moved to an independent office with its eyes set on executing the budget proposals.
With an aim to generate employment and attract tourists, the MVA government announced a cruise terminal at Ratnagiri in Konkan, developing a hill station at picturesque Jawhar in Palghar district, a policy to promote nature tourism and further development of popular hill stations Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani are among the initiatives.
DoT celebrates the grand opening of the office with ribbon cutting by Aditi Tatkare.
It is a flagship body of Maharashtra Tourism. The state government decided to form a separate body, DoT in 2016. DoT and MTDC were operating from one office until recently.
Tourism Directorate Gets Own Office
Aditi Tatkare, Minister of State for Tourism and Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary of Tourism, Excise and Civil Aviation, Government of Maharashtra graced the inaugural occasion of the Directorate of Tourism’s headquarters office.
Ms. Tatkare, speaking on the occasion said, “I heartily congratulate the DoT team. We have been thinking of setting up an independent office for DoT since a while and I am glad that we have a headquarters office now. This move will further help DoT to promote Maharashtra’s tourism opportunities to our national and international stakeholders.”
The MoS observed that the new office will ensure effective implementation of State’s tourism programmes and policies.
At the inauguration, Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary of Tourism, Excise & Civil Aviation, Government of Maharashtra, said, “It is a great achievement to set up a new office during COVID times. We are hopeful that this independent office will continue to drive our tourism development opportunities and promote Maharashtra to greater heights of success. I congratulate the entire staff of DoT for the office.”
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Dhananjay Sawalkar, Director of Directorate of Tourism, said, “We pride ourselves on providing a welcoming and energizing environment in our new office. It was decided to set up an independent office for DoT in 2019 and we started looking for the same as we have been steadily expanding our employee strength. This office will allow us to provide an even better work environment and experience for our employees.”
DoT is the nodal authority for developing and promoting the state of Maharashtra. Started in April 2019, it has been mandated with marketing and promotion of destinations, products and services in the State. It is also responsible for infrastructure creation and maintenance at the various destinations and implementation of schemes of the Government of Maharashtra.
Cruise Terminal at Bhagwati Port
While tabling the budget for 2021-22, the finance minister announced a cruise terminal at Ratnagiri’s Bhagwati port and construction of jetty in Raigad district, among other things. “Works to develop jetty for tourism at Kashid in Raigad district’s Murud taluka and to build cruise terminal at Bhagwati Port in Ratnagiri district have been undertaken,” Finance Minister Ajit Pawar said.
He also added, “The government has announced agri-tourism policy to give a boost to agri business as well as rural economy in the state. The state’s beach shack and caravan tourism policies have been announced to provide employment opportunities to coastal local citizens and to attract people. The Maharashtra state nature tourism policy will be announced soon.”
The Hindustan Times reported that there is also a plan to develop a hill station in the tribal-dominated Jawhar taluka of Palghar. “It has been decided to develop a hill station at Jawhar in the new tribal-dominated part of Palghar. We will also take up beach development works in the coastal belt of Palghar,” he said.
In addition, the state has decided to develop Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani and Lonar lake, for which the development plan has been finalised and “necessary funds are being made available”.
The budget also proposed a “path-breaking project” Sindhuratna Samruddha to harness the potential of nature by developing industries in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts. For this, ₹100 crore will be made available every year over the next three years. Bal Thackeray memorial, a proposed attraction, has been given Rs. 400 crore.
The proposed construction of an international standard tourist complex on the 14-acre site at Worli Dairy complex in Mumbai, which was announced in the last budget, was also mentioned in this year’s speech. Pawar said, “Work is in progress to transfer the site and prepare a detailed project report for the development of the complex.”