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Shacks, tents on Mumbai beaches soon

Mumbai beaches will soon have tents, caravans and more

MUMBAI: If all goes as intended, your beach plans won’t be put off with the ‘no rooms available’ and ‘wait-list’ boards at hotels and resorts that you can expect at peak season across Maharashtra beaches.

In a first, Maharashtra has allowed tourists to go for caravan tourism —use vehicles with room facilities such as beds and toilets, Times of India reported.

Not just that, tourists will now be able to spend at least a day on their favourite beaches in the absence of room facilities as the government has also decided to issue licences to set up shacks (long chairs with big umbrellas), deck beds, huts, bamboo tents and related services right on beaches, like it’s done in Goa. Tourists will also be able to enjoy tent camps and camp fires at some of the destinations if they do not get even a homestay or a caravan vehicle to rent.

These are some of the initiatives listed out in Maharashtra’s tourism policy for a 10-year period from 2016-26, released on Saturday. In the past, there have been several instances of tourists carrying tents to hill stations anticipating unavailability of rooms and setting up small camps around resorts. Till recently, such an activity was considered illegal.

Further, to make tourism and hospitality sector more attractive for investors, the state has offered heavy exemptions of up to 100% on VAT, luxury tax, entertainment tax, electricity duty and stamp duty.

This is on a par with incentives that have already been awarded to industrial investors from across the globe. “Caravan tourism (either be motorized or vehicle-based) should have the capacity to simultaneously handle at least 30 participants if it is operated with the aid of motorized vehicles. These vehicles should operate at least three months in a year,” the policy says. It also allows the erection of beach shacks, deck beds, umbrellas, huts and other temporary seasonal structures on beaches.

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