Mumbai – the dream city, India’s financial capital, Hollywood of India and the most populous city in India does not attract tourists. Why? To debate on this the Indian Merchants’ Chamber’s held a Round-Table on Repositioning of Mumbai as a Destination of the Future.
Organized by IMC’s Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Committee to discuss & deliberate on policy framework on enabling eco systems and to promote tourism in Mumbai and Maharashtra, the discussion covered e-governance, infrastructure, connectivity, communication, promotion strategy, sustainability, infrastructure, implementation and accountability.
Addressing the august gathering Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, President Elect, IMC enthusiastically stated that though Make in India is important, India growth story will be mainly by contribution of agriculture, manufacture, services and tourism.
Mrs. Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Government of Maharashtra, the Chief Guest of the Round Table was optimistic in her address when she stated that in the last two years, tourism has got its recognition with the government closely working on a National Tourism Policy. She spoke about the opportunity of Mumbai being one of the biggest Event Capital and in order to attain the same, the government was working towards creating Adventure Tourism, MICE Events, & convention centers. Mrs. Nair plans to make Bollywood the Jewel of Mumbai’s crowd & develop film city on international standards. Government of Maharashtra is working towards establishing 40 new studios & to maintain archive of both Hindi & Marathi movies.
According to Mrs. Nair, 2.5 lakh Mumbai tourists enter Mumbai for medical tourism. Exploring the possibilities, the government is working on e-medical visa and medical reimbursement, and tying up with insurance companies overseas to facilitate reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by tourists. Furthermore, she opines that Mumbai has heritage value with its Elephanta Caves & Wild Life sanctuary (Sanjay Gandhi National Park) right within the Mumbai City limits. She briefed the gathering about the positive climate for tourism investment through tax exemptions in luxury tax and stamp duty, and about the Hunar Se Rozgar Tak scheme, a training programme initiative of the Ministry of Tourism to create employable skills in youth. Novel & niche areas in tourism like culinary tourism, to be taken across the globe were talked about. Mrs. Singh also requested the gathering to share their best practices in hospitality, which can enhance the city of Mumbai as the tourism destination of the future.
Mr. Paraag Jaiin Nainuttia, IAS, Managing Director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation LTD had innovative initiatives to share, specifically the Helicopter Mumbai Darshan, yacht facility via Mumbai harbor and casinos. To enhance these initiatives he suggested for a tie-up with private companies.
Mr. Farhat Jamal, Senior Vice President – Operations (West-India) & Africa, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, the moderator of the Round Table kept the discussion open to all members in the expert panel on how best to promote the city of Mumbai. Mr. N R Srinivas, Vice President – Corporate Relations & Administration, GVK wanted the International Airport, a landmark by itself to market Mumbai’s award winning & state-of-the-art Museum at the airport as a tourism product by showcasing its grand & beautiful infrastructure and artifacts adorning its interiors.
Mr. Yoshiaki Ito, Consul General of Japan was forthright when he said that the congestion was unbearable and was a problem that needed the intervention of the government. If tourism was to be given a boost, Ms. Rosimar da Silva Suzano, Consul General of Brazil, Mumbai, who has been living in Mumbai praised it for its friendly people and safe surrounding as compared to other cities in the World. Ms. Saroja Sirisena, Consulate General of Sri Lanka wanted NGO’s to get involved in the tourism sector and enhance it through skill development. Mr. Jagdish Parekh, Proprietor, ETPL Tours & Travels ideated to organize a Maharashtra Week with its cuisines and promote the medical tourism.
The research work on “Repositioning of Mumbai as a tourism destination of the future” was presented at the Round Table.