Tourism in Maharashtra: Policies and initiatives that are boosting the sector in the state amid the pandemic

The Maharashtra Tourism Department, in a bid to woo tourists, has introduced several interesting policies and initiatives. Here are some of them that have already given the state's tourism sector a much-needed impetus, with many more in the pipeline.

Free Press JournalUpdated: Tuesday, March 22, 2022, 07:18 PM IST
Caravan Tourism |

Ease of doing business: As an effort to step up and revive tourism in the state, Maharashtra has introduced a single-window clearance for licensing in order to promote ease of doing business for hospitality sector. Leading the way to boost the tourism sector, in Maharashtra, the number of licences needed for hospitality business has been reduced to 10 from 70.

Adventure Tourism: To channelise adventure tourism in the state, to generate employment opportunities for locals, Maharashtra government introduced Adventure Tourism policy thereby, making most of our thrilling adventure destinations.

Adventure Tourism

First state to implement industrial status policy: We announced Industry status and ease of doing business (EODB) policy for the hospitality sector. Departments like Urban Development, Energy, Water Supply & Sanitation have helped us to take Hospitality sector to a new level through Industrial status policy, which we have started to implement in MOT Classified hotels from April 1, 2021.

Privatisation of MTDC properties for tourism development: In an effort to boost tourism, MTDC lands will be given on lease under Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis. The lands will be developed phase wise and in the first phase MTDC resorts at Matheran, Mahabaleshwar, Harihareshwar (dist. Raigad) and Mithbav (dist. Sindhudurg) while the open lands at Tadoba, Fardapur (Aurangabad) will be developed with the intent to develop luxury segment.

First state to implement the Agro-Tourism Policy: The aim of this policy was to ensure farmers of Maharashtra prosper and thrive alongside tourism. Several agro-tourism training programs and online webinars conducted with the help of agricultural departments and tourism trainers appointed by DOT.

Agro Tourism

Second state to implement beach shack policy: The state has chosen a few beaches to implement the shack policy. These beaches are: Kelwe and Bordi in Palghar, Diveagar and Varsoli in Raigad, Araware and Guhagar in Ratnagiri, and Kunkeshwar and Tarkali in Sindhudurg. Every beach will have 10 shacks where food, wine and beer, music system and easy chair with umbrella will be provided.

Caravan Tourism: In a bid to promote tourism, generate more jobs and let people enjoy their journey through Maharashtrain style, we also introduced the Caravan Tourism Policy.

Looking ahead

Here are some proposed policies that are expected to boost the tourism sector in the state.

Responsible Tourism Policy: Following aspects are included under the Responsible Tourism Policy:

Making optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.

Respecting the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserving their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contributing to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.

Ensuring viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation.

MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) Tourism Policy: A large number of local and foreign tourists visit the state for meetings, promotions, discussions and exhibitions. The MICE Tourism Bureau will be set up to manage all these meetings and events under one roof.

Vacation rental home and home stay scheme: Under the Vacation rental home and home stay scheme, vacant bungalows will be made available to the tourists on weekends for holiday. Similarly, homes of the local tribal people that are located near water bodies or at the foothills etc. will be made available to tourists under the homestay scheme. The homestay scheme will be implemented specially for people like trekkers, bird watchers, photographers and backpackers.

Maharashtra Forts Scheme: Maharashtra Tourism will be providing basic tourist amenities at 337 non classified forts, under the ‘Maharashtra Forts Scheme’. They include approach road, drinking water, restaurant, toilet, electricity, solid waste management, signage, tourist information centre, guides, caravan camping, parking and beautification of the vicinity. This step has been taken to promote fort tourism and experiential tourism.

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