MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government will observe the year 2017 as 'Visit Maharashtra Year' to promote tourism in the state.
"To attract more tourists to Maharashtra, we have declared 2017 as 'Visit Maharashtra Year'," the state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said after launching its international tourism promotion project, Maharashtra International Travel Mart 2015 (MITM), here.
Fadnavis said his government would aggressively market the tourism sector and strive to develop Maharashtra as a tourism brand.
Tourism in the state will be developed through a transparent public-private-partnership (PPP) model along with an integrated tourism development plan for coastal tourism. A 'single window scheme' would be created for the hospitality industry, he said.
The first ever MITM is set to take Maharashtra's robust tourism growth story on a global level, he added.
A three-day event, MITM is a flagship global tourism promotion platform conceived by the state's Department of Tourism to attract buyers and sellers of tourism industry from all across the globe to explore common growth opportunities in the robust tourism prospects in the state.
Maharashtra has attracted increasing footfalls from global as well as domestic tourists, crossing the 4.5 million and 8.4 million mark in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
"We are exploring avenues to consolidate our positions. With vast tourism assets at disposal, it is an opportune time for the state to win a prominent position in a global tourism league. We are looking at building and expand a strong tourism buyer and seller network within the state," Valsa Singh Nair, state's Tourism and Culture Principal Secretary, said.
We are sure to see a number of partnerships, tie-ups happening among tour operators, hoteliers, travel agents. It will also pave the way to attract foreign investments in the sector, Nair said.
The state is also looking at developing helipad facility to start helicopter services to the famous Elephanta caves to promote tourism. It will be developed as a PPP project, where the state government will provide infrastructure and private players will run chopper services, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation Managing Director Paraag Jaiin Nainuttia said.