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Why Mumbai fails to lure tourists

Mumbai

Ever wondered why Maharashtra, or Mumbai, which boasts several tourist spots, does not score high on domestic and international tourism radar even as states with far lesser attractions are successful in luring tourists?

According to insiders in the industry, the major reason for this is that for the government promoting tourism is not a priority. Another factor is policy paralysis and poor co-ordination among the different agencies—Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), Mumbai Port Trust (MPT), State Maritime Board (SMB), Ministry of Defence (MoD), Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), etc.

A senior official in state tourism corporation cited the story of how to light up the iconic Gateway of India, his department had to hold 23 meetings, even though the lights were being installed by a private company. Similarly, the seaplane project from Juhu airport is yet to take off due to bureaucratic lethargy and policy paralysis despite being in the pipeline for over one and-a-half years. “Tourism has always remained among the least of priorities for government agencies,” said an MTDC official.

According to tourism ministry officials, since long Maharashtra has remained a self-sustained industrialised state, so it never focused on the tourism sector. “It’s only in the last few years that the tourism department has realised the state’s potential, but it has been a slow grind.” Jagdish Patil, MD of MTDC, says: “There are several hurdles. But we have been taking several steps to streamline and pep up tourism in the city and state.”

The poor performance of the department can be attributed to the paltry amount allocated to it for promoting its activities. As per the data available with MTDC, it barely received Rs 15 crore a year till the last few years; the amount went up to Rs 25 crore in 2012, and was hiked further to Rs 50 crore later, but was again reduced to Rs 40 crore. Officials in ministry claimed that in contrast some of the other states had a budget ranging between Rs 100 crore and 150 crore.

Read the full report here, DNA

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