Mumbai: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is contemplating to make the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) as an International Tourist Destination by developing new tourism sites along with upgrading the existing ones.
For this a study will be conducted, starting early next year, on how the MMR can be brought on an international tourism map through sustainable practices. “The strategy that it is looking at is to be more resilient, inclusive, carbon neutral and resource efficient while safeguarding natural and cultural resources,” mentioned an internal MMRDA report.
The MMR is richly endowed with natural resources such as Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Matheran Hill Station and eco-sensitive zone, Karnala Bird Sanctuary, 271-km long scenic coastline, rich heritage of Victorian and art deco builders, Marine Drive.
However, the tourism opportunities are largely untapped. The forests, dams, rivers, lakes, forts. have vast potential for various types of tourism.
Need to develop holistic and sustainable tourism
Tourism is one of the sectors having a strong multiplier effect on the economy. Hence, the need to develop holistic and sustainable tourism, which will also create direct and indirect employment opportunities.
Among the key points of the study will be to identify areas or suggest development of new locations with tourism potential, finance and marketing strategies, governance framework, stakeholder identification, greening conventional tourism, growing niche areas for sustainable tourism and analyse the potential to promote specific type of tourism of combination of different types such as medical, leisure, coastal, wellness, agro, business, cultural, pilgrimage, spiritual, adventure, caravan.
Tourism Development Plan – Mumbai Suburban
In a report prepared prior to the pandemic and submitted to the Maharashtra Tourism Development Department, titled – Tourism Development Plan – Mumbai Suburban, by Fortress Infrastructure Advisory Services, it has been stated that Mumbai is the Gateway to India.
79 percent of the foreign tourists to Maharashtra visit Mumbai
Total of 79 percent of the foreign tourists to Maharashtra visit Mumbai and 25 percent of the total domestic visitors to the state visit Mumbai. Yet, Mumbai as a region has not been able to become a tourist destination on the lines of London, Paris, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.
“At present, most of the international tourists coming to India prefer to move on to visit destinations such as Kerala, Goa and Rajasthan because there are not enough attractions in and around Mumbai to hold them here,” observed the report. On an average, domestic visitors stay in Mumbai for four days as compared to three days in case of foreign travellers.
The highest tourist inflow is in the months of December and January, while it is least in August.