Mumbai: On World Tourism Day, Maharashtra raised a toast to the first grape park in Nashik. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray launched the first grape park resort developed by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation in Nashik, one of the leading grape and wine-producing hubs in the country. Spread over 14.48 hectares near the Gangapur dam, the resort was constructed with an investment of Rs 72 crore and comprises four twin villas, 28 suites, restaurants and a boat club. Primarily, 11 boats will be operated, on trial basis.
The state government has chosen Nashik, not only because it is a holy city on the banks of the Godavari river but over the years, has emerged as the wine capital of India, with half of the nation's vineyards and wineries located there.
It was the guardian minister of Nashik district, Chhagan Bhujbal, who, during his stint as tourism minister in the Congress-NCP government, had conceived the idea of a grape park resort. He told The Free Press Journal, ‘‘The Grape Park Resort and Boat Club launched today (Sunday), will give a big boost to tourism in Nashik. Many tourist spots in the area are being developed for visitors, so that they will hang around for longer instead of just going to pilgrimage spots and ancient temples. Connectivity with Shirdi, Trimbakeshwar, Saptashrungigad and other tourist destinations has been enhanced.’’
Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray said his department has been working on many fronts to put Maharashtra on the global tourism map. ‘‘The Grape Park in Nashik, with its boat club, adds thrill to the scenic environs of the property,’’ he noted.
MTDC managing director Ashutosh Salil said the MTDC would strive to make it the finest boat club in the country. In a related development, CM Uddhav Thackeray also launched MTDC residences at Kharghar and released the Maharashtra Tourism database.
Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray said the state government was not only providing fiscal incentives but also facilitating and supporting the tourism and hospitality sector on the policy and easeof-doing business fronts. ‘‘The number of approvals required has been substantially reduced, from 80 three years ago, to 20. This will be further whittled down to a single digit. Policies such as Beach Shack policy, to promote the pristine beaches of Konkan belt, agri tourism policy for encouraging farmstays, the caravan policy for promoting outdoor tourism and the policy to support the live events industry with pre-approved venues will further strengthen Maharashtra’s presence on the world tourism map,’’ he opined.
On waterways, Aaditya said the state government planned to utilise the coast and connect Thane, Ghodbunder, Uran and Murud, not only for RO-RO services but also invite investors to bring in private speedboats, to create taxi services. Minister of State for Tourism Aditi Tatkare said the department was working towards strengthening the infrastructure, to support tourism beyond cities as well.
Tourism Department Principal Secretary Valsa Nair Singh said the government proposed to extend support on fixed costs, including property tax, electricity tariff and excise fees, to handhold the industry during the pandemic.
FICCI Maharashtra State Council chairperson Sulajja Firodia Motwani said the government could address the concerns of the traveller and bolster confidence by removing travel barriers and developing strong healthcare infrastructure around major tourist destinations.